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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     7 November  2011

Solar operator delays commissioning

First Solar Inc (NASDAQ: FSLR) announced yesterday it would postpone commissioning its US$300 million factory in Vietnam until global supply and demand dynamics support the additional capacity the factory would provide.

Construction of the factory in HCM City's Dong Nam Industrial Park began in March. It has employed approximately 2,000 construction workers so far, and work will continue until the building is secured, but no schedule has been set for the recruitment of production staff or the installation of equipment.

First Solar will conduct necessary procedures in due course in accordance with Vietnamese laws to effect the postponement.

"Due to supply-demand imbalances in the world solar market, regrettably the First Solar plant in Dong Nam Industrial Zone will be postponed until market demand requires the additional capacity," said Tymen DeJong, senior vice president of manufacturing.

"First Solar will complete construction of its factory, but has postponed new hiring and importation of equipment until the project is reactivated.

"We thank the many officials in Vietnam who have supported the project, and we look forward to working together to bring the facility into operation when there is a robust market for its production," DeJong said in a press release.

The factory is being built on an area of over 44 hectares in Cu Chi District.

It was scheduled to begin commercial production in the second half of 2012, providing jobs to around 600 people.

The plant is designed to produce more than 250 megawatts of First Solar's advanced, thin-film solar panels per year on four manufacturing lines, with flexibility for future expansion.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

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It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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