Dimming the Lights at Carmanah

The Victoria Times Colonist is reporting that Carmanah Technologies Corp., one of Victoria’s largest technology companies, slashed its workforce of 260 yesterday and announced it will stop manufacturing solar lighting products here by the end of the year. The company eliminated 37 positions, 24 of them in Victoria, and will reduce its local workforce by another 48 by the end of this year. Manufacturing will be outsourced to Singapore-based Flextronics. Remaining staff will work in research and development, sales, marketing and some assembly.

The moves were part of Carmanah’s restructuring plan to return the company to profitable growth, company CEO Ted Lattimore told reporters. The company will also close warehouses and offices in Calgary and Santa Cruz, Calif., over the next couple of months, to improve operational efficiency, control costs and refocus its resources on key “revenue-generating activities.”

“Today is a harsh day for employees, but for those employees with the company starting tomorrow this is a golden opportunity for them, an opportunity to make Carmanah something truly special,” he said, noting the firm will no longer have the “baggage and suffocation” of businesses that are losing money.

Carmanah was founded in 1994 by David Green, who came up with the idea of producing a durable marine light after weeks at sea sailing back to Victoria solo from Fiji. The company raised $9.1 million in a private placement and started making solar-powered marine lights and hazard lights for road construction. The company went public on the Venture Exchange in July 2001 and four years later graduated to the TSX (symbol: CMH).