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Thursday, 26 July, 2001, 20:44 GMT 21:44 UK
Job cuts top 50,000
People who may be amongst those losing their jobs
It is turning out to be yet another grim day of job losses, as companies on both sides of the Atlantic queued up to report gloomy results and cost-cutting plans.

In total, companies said they were cutting, or planned to cut, close to 51,000 jobs this year.

Job losses announced Thursday
JDS Uniphase: 16,000
Alcatel: 14,000
Hewlett Packard: 6,000
Infineon: 5,000
NTL: 2,000-2,500
Epcos: 750

JDS Uniphase becomes the latest in a string of technology firms to axe workers, cutting 16,000 jobs.

The maker of fibre-optic components announced the job cuts during its latest profits report. JDS Uniphase said that in its fourth quarter it lost 36 cents a share on sales of $601 million.

With a similar number of job losses announced on Tuesday, this has been one of the bloodiest company results seasons since the recession of the early 1990s, economists said.

Unlike on Tuesday, however, stock markets have reacted with equanimity to the announcements, with most major share indexes trading unchanged, after suffering heavy falls earlier in the week.

Alcatel chief executive Serge Tchuruk
Alcatel chief Serge Tchuruk will keep his job
The biggest cuts were announced at French telecoms equipment firm Alcatel, which said it would cut 14,000 permanent staff, as well as up to 6,000 contractors and part-time staff.

At the same time Alcatel announced results that, although showing a loss, slightly beat market expectations.

An Alcatel spokeswoman in Paris said some of the cuts had already been announced with the remainder coming from natural turnover and offers of voluntary redundancy or early retirement.

HP suffers

On the other side of the Atlantic, high-tech giant Hewlett-Packard (HP) lowered its sales forecasts yet again and said it would axe 6,000 jobs, more than 6% of its work force.

It blamed the fact that consumers were spending even less on technology than expected.

HP announced 4,700 job cuts earlier in the year, and has had to issue a series of profit warnings.

A BT engineer
BT is re-engineering its workforce
In the UK, British Telecom (BT) said it would be shedding 6,000 staff this year, 1,000 more than previously announced.

The company is in the process of paying down its mountain of debt, which reached 27.9bn at the end of the first quarter.

Some 1,500 of the BT jobs will go at its Ignite corporate data business in Europe.

Chips are down

The axe also fell heavily at German semiconductor manufacturer Infineon, which has been hammered by the global slump in demand for chips.

Infineon's headquarters
Infineon is suffering from the chip slump
Infineon said it would be cutting up to 5,000 staff, 15% of its workforce, in an effort to wring out savings of 1bn euros (616m; $880m) over the next 12-18 months.

Some 2,000-2,500 jobs are likely to go at UK cable firm NTL, which is implementing a radical cost-cutting programme in the hope of persuading investors that it is not overly indebted.

NTL has already eliminated 2,300 jobs so far this year.

Many, many more

The jobs gloom was widened by a flurry of announcements of job losses from a wide range of companies.

  • US communications equipment maker Avaya its earnings more than doubled, but it cut its fourth-quarter outlook and 2,000 additional jobs because of slowing demand.
  • Hypovereinsbank, unveiling gloomy results, said it was on track in a programme to cut 5,500 jobs; German media reports said total losses could be as high as 8,000.
  • Epcos, a German IT components firm that, like Infineon, was spun off from Siemens in 1999, said it was cutting 750 staff.
  • Cookson, a British circuit-board manufacturer, has already cut 1,600 jobs in its electronics arm, and said 360 more jobs will go in its ceramics business along with the closure of six plants.
  • Portugal's Banco Espirito Santo said it planned to shed 720 employees by next year.

Shares shrug

After one of the gloomiest corporate reporting seasons in recent memory, the financial markets seemed less willing to panic than they had been earlier in the month.

At 1430 GMT, the FTSE 100 share index was up 22 points on its 33 month low close of Wednesday. It stood at 5,297.

In the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 76 points at 10,329, but the technology-heavy Nasdaq was more or less unchanged, at 1,981.

Some of the firms that announced the heaviest losses performed the best; Alcatel, for example, bounced by more than 4%.

"Maybe investors are becoming just a little bit immune to the earnings news. Perhaps it's having a lesser impact at this point," said Charles Payne, an analyst at Wall Street Strategies.

View market data
Launch marketwatch
The Markets: 9:29 UK
FTSE 100 5760.40 -151.7
Dow Jones 11380.99 -119.7
Nasdaq 2243.78 -28.9
FTSE delayed by 15 mins, Dow and Nasdaq by 20 mins
See also:

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Chipmaker cuts up to 5,000 jobs
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