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First Solar lays off 2,000 workers

America's largest solar panel manufacturer is laying off 2,000 workers and closing factories in response to waning demand and increased competition from China.

First Solar Inc. says the layoffs amount to 30 percent of its global workforce. Some cuts come from shutting down production lines in Malaysia and closing a factory in Germany. The company will also cut additional jobs in both Europe and the U.S.

First Solar says its manufacturing costs should drop by $30-$60 million this year and another $100-$120 million a year afterward. It will book a restructuring charge of $245 to $370 million.

The Tempe, Ariz., company says the cuts are necessary to cope with deteriorating demand in Europe, which has been the biggest market for solar panels.

Shares rose 5 percent in premarket trading.

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