Laird cuts 5000 as handset sales slow - Embedded.com

Laird cuts 5000 as handset sales slow

LONDON — Laird plc., a manufacturer of electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding devices and antennae, is in the process of cutting its staff by around 5000 or 54 percent.

Laird (London), a developer of components and systems for wireless and other advanced electronic applications, is closing its manufacturing facility in Hungary which employs 500 and three of its facilities in the U.S. will be closed or downsized significantly, with production from these sites transferred to Mexico and China.

This will lead to further labour and overhead reductions during the first half of 2009. These actions will result in exceptional charges of up to £20million (about $ 30.5million) being incurred in 2008, of which some £14 million (about $ 21million) will be cash and the remainder asset write-downs. Laird said the annualised net benefits will be at least £12 million (about $ 18million), being realised progressively during 2009.

The company has seen an acceleration of the slowdown in demand for its products across virtually all of its market sectors in November. This has continued into December, with de-stocking in the global supply chain. As a result, revenue at constant exchange rates in the fourth quarter of 2008 to be 25 percent to 30 percent below that in the same period of 2007, although currency movements will mitigate considerably the reduction in revenue when expressed in Sterling.

For planning purposes Laird is assuming that the current de-stocking lasts through at least the first quarter of 2009, and that there will be no market recovery during 2009. Its planning assumption is that global unit handset volumes will decline by 10 percent from 2008 levels.

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