Ax to fall on jobs in Lucent Asia

Some of Lucent Technologies Inc's 10,900 employees in Asia Pacific will be affected by the networking company's latest round of job cuts.

SINGAPORE--Some of Lucent Technologies Inc's 10,900 employees in Asia Pacific will be affected by the networking company's latest round of job cuts.

Yesterday, the firm said that it would lay off 15,000 to 20,000 additional employees, and take a US$7 billion to US$9 billion charge, as its third quarter loss widened and sales fell.

Lucent's third quarter loss was US$3.25 billion compared with US$301 million in the same period a year earlier, while sales was US$5.82 billion compared with US$7.41 billion. The net loss included discontinued operations, a US$684 million restructuring charge and other accounting charges.

The downsizing is part of a continuing restructuring program to help the company turn profitable sometime in fiscal 2002.

When contacted today, Lucent Asia Pacific spokesperson Richard Wright confirmed that the region will be affected. However, he could not reveal the exact number of people expected to be laid off.

"We will look at the business in all markets and resize (specific operations) based on market opportunities," he noted.

According to him, "we are still in the process of determining when and how the cuts will be made." However, he expects a figure to be determined in 30 days.

Of the 10,900 employees in the region, 3,500 are based in China while 500 are in Singapore, Wright said.

Since January, Lucent has reduced its global workforce by 19,000 and eliminated 5,500 contract positions. In addition, about 8,500 workers left through a voluntary retirement program, bringing the global headcount to roughly 86,500 as at end June.

The company said Tuesday it would take a US$1.2 billion charge in the fourth quarter related to the headcount reductions.

Sales of plants
In another move to raise cash and restructure its business, Lucent said it is selling its Oklahoma City and Columbus, Ohio, manufacturing operations to electronics-manufacturing services firm Celestica in a deal worth between US$550 million and US$650 million.

As part of the agreement, Lucent has entered a five-year, US$10 billion deal that will make Celestica the primary manufacturer for Lucent's switching, access and wireless businesses.

Lucent also confirmed Tuesday that it was selling its Optical Fiber Solutions business--including two Chinese joint ventures, Lucent Technologies Shanghai Fiber Optic and Lucent Technologies Beijing Fiber Optic Cable--to Japan's Furukawa Electric and US-based Corning for US$2.75 billion.

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