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Agilent laying off 2,700

March 28, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Agilent Technologies Inc. says it will lay off 2,700 workers and halt share buybacks as the scientific-instrument maker struggles with a huge drop in demand. The company expects revenue in its electronic-measurement segment to drop 30 percent in fiscal 2009 - the lowest level in its 10-year history.

Revenue in its chip and board test segment is expected to fall 50 percent from the 2008 level, and 65 percent from its peak volume.

The number of layoffs at Agilent's Loveland, Colo., facility has not been determined, said company spokeswoman Jean Mooney, in Loveland.

"It's a little bit difficult to know what the local impact is going to be at this time," said Mooney, adding that most of the layoffs would occur by Oct. 31.

The Loveland facility has 425 employees and focuses mainly on the electronic-measurement segment. Agilent is cutting annual costs by $300 million in that segment and by $10 million in its chip and board test segment.

The company will also suspend share buybacks for the rest of its fiscal year, which ends in October.

The 2,700 layoffs bring the number of employees who have been laid off since December 2008 to 3,800, spokeswoman Amy Flores said, marking a 20 percent cut in workers since the end of last year.

The moves entail cash costs of about $160 million.

"Business remains severely depressed, and there are no prospects for a meaningful recovery in the foreseeable future," Chief Executive Bill Sullivan, said in a statement released by the company.

Shares rose $1.18, or 7.4 percent, to $17.14. In the last 52 weeks, shares have fallen 47 percent.


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