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Chip equipment maker Credence announces layoffs

Credence Systems, which produces test equipment for the semiconductor industry, says it will slash its work force by 14 percent amid an ongoing slowdown,

    Credence Systems, which produces test equipment for the semiconductor industry, said Friday it will slash its work force by 14 percent and impose other cost-cutting measures in the face of a revenue slowdown.

    Shares of the Freemont, Calif.-based company slipped 69 cents, or 3.2 percent, to $20.81 in morning trading.

    In a release, the company said it will eliminate 14 percent of its work force, or about 200 jobs, effective immediately. In addition, all remaining employees will be required to take one week off per quarter until further notice.

    Other cost-cutting initiatives, including the consolidation and reorganization of certain functions and operations, are also being implemented, company officials said.

    The measures are a result of a previously announced slackening in the company's anticipated revenue. Despite topping estimates for its fourth quarter back in November, company officials said the downturn in the semiconductor sector would lead to a drop in sequential revenue in the first quarter of 2001.

    CEO Graham Siddall said that he believed the semiconductor industry is in the early stages of a sustained downturn and that a recovery may not take place until late 2001 or 2002.

    Siddall said he remained committed to reducing the company's expense structure in light of weakened order activity and lower-than-expected revenue. The company will release actual results for the first quarter of 2001 on Feb. 14. related 4761252