AMSC cuts workforce by 20 percent

AMSC, a Devens company that makes control systems for wind turbines and other advanced technologies for utilities, said it has reduced its workforce by more than 20 percent in order to lower the company’s cash usage as it works toward a return to profitability.

That works out to a cut of more than 100 jobs, a company spokesman said

The company, which until recently was known as American Superconductor Corp., said in a press release that it now has a global workforce of about 400 employees, including well over 100 at Devens.

AMSC has been generating its share of headlines lately. Recently, a former employee was found guilty by an Austrian court for passing proprietary company technology to Sinovel Wind Group of China, a wind turbine maker that was once AMSC’s largest customer. Earlier this year, Sinovel stopped accepting AMSC shipments, and AMSC’s stock share plunged. Faced with losses, AMSC was forced to cut about 30 percent of its workforce, or 150 jobs.

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Earlier this month, the company said it was seeking more than $1.2 billion in damages and payments for contracted shipments from Sinovel. The lawsuits in China allege that Sinovel engaged in copyright infringement and theft of trade secrets. Court and arbitration proceedings are expected to begin in the next few months, as AMSC tries to collect damages as well as nearly $70 million owed for past shipments ordered by Sinovel and $700 million in undelivered parts.

Today’s press release included a statement from AMSC president and chief executive Daniel P. McGahn, who said: “The decision to reduce our workforce was difficult, but it is the most prudent course of action given today’s macro environment. We believe our new cost structure will enable us to reduce our cash usage and position AMSC for sustainable profitability even if the challenges facing the renewable energy industry and the broader global economy persist. In the meantime, we are successfully executing our business strategy, and we remain on track to meet the fiscal year 2011 revenue and non-GAAP net income forecasts that we detailed on November 9.’’

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