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Agilent plans more layoffs

update Having announced 8,000 job cuts last fall, the medical and semiconductor gear maker plans to trim more positions, according to a government report.

update In an effort to cut costs, troubled equipment maker Agilent Technologies will eliminate more jobs on top of the 8,000 layoffs announced last fall, according to a report the company filed to the government this month.

This move will help Agilent reduce costs by $50 million each quarter as part of its effort to become profitable, according to the company's quarterly earnings report, submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission on Sept. 13.

Agilent, which has 37,000 employees in 120 countries, has not yet finalized how many more jobs it will cut, which divisions will be most affected nor when the next round of layoffs will begin, said company spokeswoman Michele Drake. The company, which makes medical and semiconductor testing equipment, will provide details by the end of next month, which is the end of Agilent's fiscal year, she said.

Drake said the next round of layoffs won't be as hefty as those made last year.

"The cuts won't be companywide," said Drake. "They will come from specific lines of business that aren't doing as well," such as the test and measurement businesses that serve the wireline telecommunications markets.

Edward White Jr., a securities analyst for Lehman Brothers, said Agilent may eliminate as many as an additional 1,000 positions through layoffs and attrition. The company plans to downsize its work force to about 35,000 employees next year, he said.

In August 2001, Agilent announced it would cut 4,000 jobs. In November, it put another 4,000 jobs on the chopping block. Last month Agilent said it had eliminated 7,100 of those positions and expected to lay off the remaining 900 employees by the end of the year.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company, which spun out of Hewlett Packard in 1999, has battled red ink and declining revenue for more than a year. The company's semiconductor division has been particularly hard hit by the deterioration of the telecommunications market.

The need for further cost and job cuts comes after a disappointing third quarter, which ended in July. The company missed earnings estimates, blaming continued weak demand from the telecommunications industry and problems with a new software system that delayed orders.