NXP to shed up to 4,500 jobs

The company blames the global economic slowdown for the redundancies, which will mostly be in its manufacturing operations

Dutch chipmaker NXP Semiconductors is to cut up to 4,500 jobs, the company announced on Friday.

According to an NXP spokesperson, the redundancies are due to the global economic slowdown.

"Today's measures come in response to a challenging economic environment, a weak US dollar and the reduction in size of the company, after moving its wireless business into a joint venture with STMicroelectronics," the spokesperson wrote in an email.

NXP denied that the job cuts were linked to several demonstrations of security flaws in travel smartcards that use NXP's Mifare Classic chip, including a crack of London's Oyster card by Dutch researchers.

"The measures announced today have absolutely nothing to do with perceived security issues stemming from the Mifare chip," wrote the spokesperson.

Most of the job losses will occur in NXP manufacturing facilities. The company's fab in New York State will close in 2009, while NXP hopes to sell its factory in Caen, France. If no buyer can be found for the Caen facility in 2009, it will also close.

NXP is also closing parts of its fabs in Nijmegen and Hamburg, while shifting most of its manufacturing operations to those factories and to its fab in Singapore. In a press release, NXP said it would be increasing "the loading in the remaining fabs to over 90 percent". The company has started talks with unions and employee representatives about the implications and implementation of the redundancies, and the increased workload on remaining employees.

"This restructuring is a tough measure and it is regrettable that we need to let people go," said NXP's chief executive, Frans van Houten, in a statement. "Measures include increasing the competitiveness of our manufacturing base and reduction in our work force."