Hitachi cuts jobs, plans growth

Disk-drive manufacturer has announced that 4,500 jobs will go as part of a plan to boost hard disk production

Hitachi announced on Thursday that it would cut 4,500 jobs as part of a plan to boost hard disk production by 13 percent this year.

The job cuts will be exclusively at the company's plant in Mexico, Hitachi said, and would only fall on its Global Storage Technologies group. This will not affect Hitachi Data Systems (HDS), the high-end storage systems division of the company, in any way, Nick Kyriacou, Hitachi's director for storage in Europe, told ZDNet UK.

The consolidation will see storage manufacturing located almost exclusively in China and Thailand, apart from enterprise storage (of which HDS is a part), which will remain in Singapore.

According to the company, this will be "a key initiative of the company's plan to achieve and maintain business excellence". The changes are expected to result "in potential savings of nearly $300m (£152m) over the next five years", the company said in a statement.

"This helps us in our plans to grow very quickly," said Kyriacou. "We will manufacture 70 million drives this year and build it up to 100 million next year. That is very fast growth."

The faster growth had been in 2.5-inch drives, Kyriacou said, but 3.5-inch drives were also doing well. "We are on track and we will be the first in the market with a 1TB [terabyte] 3.5-inch drive," he said. Flash disk drives are also "doing very well", he said.

Hitachi is one of the largest suppliers of disk drives in the world.