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Applied Materials to cut 1,000 jobs

The firm is the latest semiconductor company to cut back amid an industry slowdown.

Applied Materials said today it would seek to cut 1,000 jobs, or nearly 7 percent of its workforce, through a voluntary job-cut plan.

The goal is to cut the workforce from 15,000 to about 14,000 by July, a company spokesman said. He emphasized the cutbacks were voluntary. It is the latest example of workforce reductions in the semiconductor industry amid a slowdown. Intel and National Semiconductor also have announced cutbacks.

Applied Materials provides semiconductor wafer production equipment and services to the semiconductor industry and is one of the largest chip equipment manufacturers in the world.

As a result of the workforce reduction, Applied Materials said it will incur a pretax restructuring charge estimated to be $25 million to $30 million, or about 5 cents per share after tax, during the third fiscal quarter ended July 26. This charge largely will cover the cost of employee separation pay and benefits.

This program will be offered in early June to employees on a selective basis, the company said. The majority of them are based in Santa Clara, California, and Austin, Texas.

"While the semiconductor industry is currently experiencing a slowdown in demand, Applied Materials remains confident about the long-term business outlook for the industry and the company," the company said in a statement.