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Newport to axe up to 275 jobs

01 August, 2002

Newport Corporation, which specialises in automation equipment for high-tech industries, is planning to shed 225-275 jobs because of the continuing difficulties in its key fibre optic and semiconductor equipment markets. The company is also planning to sell a US factory which makes precision motion stages.

The cutbacks will leave Newport with a global workforce of 1,125-1,175 by the end of the year - more than 40% below its peak of around 2,000 employees in mid-2001. The reduced headcount, together with a reorganisation of the company`s activities, is expected to save $12-14m a year from 2003.

Some 105-145 of the layoffs will come from combining Newport`s automation business with a new division, called Advanced Packaging and Automation Systems.

Newport`s chief executive Robert Duester does not expect any growth from the fibre optic market until at least 2004. And, although orders from the semiconductor equipment market have remained strong for the past six months, Duester says that "we are increasingly concerned about uncertainty in the marketplace related to the timing of the recovery cycle".

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