More job cuts at U.S. polysilicon maker Hemlock Semiconductor

Hemlock Semiconductor’s polysilicon plant in Hemlock, Michigan (USA)
Hemlock Semiconductor’s solar-grade polysilicon is blocked from the largest market in China – Image: Hemlock Semiconductor

U.S.-based polysilicon manufacturer Hemlock Semiconductor Corporation (HSC) will lay off 50 employees, the company announced internally on June 18.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the concentration of critical supply chains in China and worsened the market-distorting effects of overcapacity created by their subsidies,” said Brooke L. Beebe, vice president of external affairs at Hemlock.

“While China committed to purchasing U.S. polysilicon in the Phase I U.S.-China trade deal announced in January, it has not yet followed through on its promise, again keeping out U.S.-made polysilicon. HSC’s workforce reduction is a direct result of these circumstances,” she commented.

In the first quarter of 2018, Hemlock already cut 100 jobs, citing international trade disputes and new competition. According to the economic development group Saginaw Future, the company still has 660 employees.

The new round of job cuts may also have to do with the expiry of almost half of Hemlock’s polysilicon long-term supply contracts in 2020.

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