REC Silicon defers sale of Butte plant, keeps Moses Lake closed

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, due diligence of the polysilicon plant in Butte by potential buyers has been delayed – Image: REC Silicon

The Covid-19 pandemic has not spared the business plan of U.S.-based polysilicon manufacturer REC Silicon: The sale of its electronic-grade plant in Butte, Montana has been delayed, and its solar-grade fluidized bed reactor (FBR) plant in Moses Lake, Washington will not be reopened anytime soon.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the companies interested in purchasing the Butte plant have not yet been able to get access to the factory for due diligence.

REC Silicon sold only 85 metric tons (MT) of electronic-grade polysilicon in the first quarter, compared to 262 MT in the prior-year quarter. Although demand for semiconductors is said to be strong, semiconductor manufacturers like TSMC and Intel have presented a weaker outlook for 2020 in the wake of Covid-19.

REC Silicon’s intention to reopen its plant in Moses Lake after the U.S. and China closed the Phase 1 trade agreement in January has not materialized. According to CEO Tore Torvund, two attempts to export polysilicon into China without duties were not successful. That confirms the early skepticism of Bernreuter Research about the high expectations the company has set in the trade deal.

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