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No end to telecoms carnage

17 Sep 2002

Alcatel Optronics axes more jobs and Lucent Technologies expects another sequential fall in revenues as the telecoms chaos continues.

Alcatel Optronics has said today that it will axe two-thirds of its workforce by the end of 2003. "From 1550 staff today, we expect to reach 1000 before year end, and ultimately below 500 by end-2003," said chief executive officer Jean-Christophe Giroux. "Given a further deterioration of the markets, we feel that it is mandatory to intensify restructuring actions and launch a strategic refocus plan."

But the bad news doesn't end there. With revenues plummeting some 28% to EURO 25.4 million in the previous quarter alone, the company is now predicting a 50% sequential decline in revenues for its current fiscal quarter. Alcatel now estimates a quarterly sales break-even point of EURO 40 million by the end of 2003.

Giroux announced that Alcatel's Nozay manufacturing facility in France will focus on active components, its Livingston plant in the UK will concentrate on passive components and both units will join forces to develop hybrids.

Staff numbers at Nozay are to be cut back to about 300. This will be achieved by industrial outsourcing, pooling of resources with partners, spin-offs and individual redeployments.

In the US, Alcatel is looking for partners interested in buying the majority of its Texas facility (Alcatel Optronics Plano).

In Canada, all fiber Bragg grating development will be halted and transferred to Livingston. Consolidation across all passive products at the UK plant will continue and operations are to be resized to reflect ongoing business conditions.

Alcatel Optronics is not the only optical communication firm expecting a sequential slump for the next fiscal quarter. Lucent Technologies is also predicting a decline. The company expects revenues for its fourth fiscal quarter of 2002 to decline sequentially by up to 25% from the USD 2.95 billion recorded in the previous quarter.

This continues the slide that has seen Lucent's revenues fall from the USD 5.37 million figure reported in the third quarter of 2001. Having announced 7000 job losses only two months ago, the company will now reveal the latest impact on the headcount in its earnings announcement on October 23.

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

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