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Bookham sheds half its sites

03 Jul 2002

Bookham Technology is closing two of its manufacturing locations and axing 70 jobs.

Optical component manufacturer Bookham Technology, UK, is to close half of its manufacturing facilities with the loss of 70 jobs. Work at the US facility in Maryland and the Swindon plant in the UK will stop at the end of the third quarter.

The company says that it will now fabricate all its integrated-optical circuits and active components at its UK-based Milton and Caswell sites.

"We are confident that the [two remaining] sites can each meet the foreseeable demand and produce the EURO 311 million (USD 306 million) in annual revenue based on the equipment we have in place," said Bookham's chief financial officer Steve Abely.

Having expanded into the US less than 2 years ago to be close to its customer base, chief executive officer Giorgio Anania believes that this move is forced by the continuing slump in the telecoms industry, Bookham's primary market. "What matters now is being cost-effective," he said. "US presence was clearly a plus but we want to give customers a low cost solution. That's the way we are going to win market share."

According to Abely, Bookham is now looking for potential buyers for the facilities. "We have had some initial interest, but we are not very far along in negotiations," he said.

Jacqueline Hewett is news reporter on Optics.org and Opto & Laser Europe magazine.

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