HP claims good response to cost-cutting measures

Hewlett-Packard Co claims to have seen "healthy" participation rates for its recent cost cutting measures that included asking employees to take voluntary pay cuts or vacations.

SINGAPORE--Hewlett-Packard Co claims to have seen "healthy" participation rates for its recent cost cutting measures that included asking employees to take voluntary pay cuts or vacations.

"We have a very healthy participation rate both at the worldwide and Asia Pacific levels," HP Asia spokesperson Cecilia Pang said in an email interview yesterday.

However, she declined to reveal how many staff had taken part in the program due to confidentiality reasons.

As reported earlier, HP said it asked employees--including its 14,000 workers in Asia--to voluntarily take a pay cut, vacation or a combination of both to help cut costs.

When contacted then, Pang stressed that the program was "completely voluntary", and that "there won't be any consequences if they don't (participate)".

HP employs about 90,000 employees worldwide, with about half in California. It has over 10 offices across Asia Pacific, including Singapore (which has about 6,000 staff), Japan, Korea, China, India and Australia.

According to Pang, employees in Asia were expected to revert back to the company with their decisions by the second week of July. However, Bloomberg reported that the cost cutting measures are expected to run from July to October this year.

Pang also noted last month that the company was taking short and long term measures on "a business-by-business basis to reduce expenses and generate revenue near term, as well as to create more competitive cost structures for the long run".

In January, HP Asia Pacific voiced expectations of cutting less than 280 jobs from its existing 14,000 employees in the region (including Japan) as part of a regional marketing restructuring program.

That announcement followed HP's decision to reduce 2 percent of its worldwide workforce (of 88,500) then.

For the first half year ended April 30, the computer maker reported net revenues for Asia Pacific (including Japan) of US$3.6 billion, or 15 percent of its US$23.6 billion worldwide sales.

HP shares last traded at US$26.4, down US$1.58 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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