SunPower to lay off 150-250 workers, blames Section 201


The last few years have not been great for SunPower. The company has undergone several rounds of restructuring as it attempts to reach the elusive goal of profitability. As the latest, yesterday the company revealed in an SEC filing that it will lay off between 150 and 250 workers, or roughly 3% of its global workforce, through mid-2019.

In typical SunPower fashion details are vague and limited. SunPower notes that the 150–250 positions are “non-manufacturing”, and a portion of these employees are expected to leave as part of a voluntary departure program. The location of the employees to be let go is not specified.

As a result of this SunPower expects to incur $20-$30 million in restructuring charges in the first half of 2018. This is chicken scratch given the company’s losses, with SunPower losing $750 million during Q4 2017 alone.

And while SunPower blames “the known shorter-term impact of tariffs” under Section 201 for the layoffs, the company has been losing money every quarter for years, and even before the tariffs SunPower’s promise to achieve “sustainable profitability” some time in the second half of 2018 appeared more aspirational than solid.

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