by Staff Writers
Madrid (AFP) May 3, 2016
Spain's troubled energy giant Abengoa announced a new wave of layoffs Tuesday, having already shed more than a third of its global workforce in just months, going from 28,000 employees last year to 17,000 now.
On the verge of bankruptcy after years of unsustainable expansion, the renewable energy firm announced in November it was filing for preliminary protection from creditors in Spain, and has until October to strike a debt restructuring deal with creditors.
The world player in solar and wind power, biofuels and water management has already launched a recovery plan that includes the sale of biofuels assets and other non-strategic holdings, as it seeks to reduce debt of more than nine billion euros ($10.4 billion).
On Tuesday, the Seville-based group said it planned to lay off up to 10 percent of its workforce in Spain -- or around 500 people -- "to adapt to its new reality."
"This reorganisation aims to resume the company's normal activity at maximum speed," it said.
"Abengoa's workforce worldwide is of more than 17,000 people, of whom around 5,000 are in Spain," the group added in a statement -- a marked decrease from the 28,121 people it said it employed globally at the end of 2015.
A source close to the group, who wished to remain anonymous, said the decrease was due to the sale of assets, voluntary departures and lay-offs.
The source said that in Brazil, where Abengoa has a big presence, the group parted with thousands of workers in plantations of sugar cane used for its biomass-fired power plants -- but had no exact breakdown per country or region.
The company, which has renewable energy projects spanning four continents, generated 86 precent of its turnover last year outside of Spain.
North America is its largest market, followed closely by South America.
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