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Copper Mountain announces layoffs; executives resign

The broadband equipment maker announces a restructuring plan that includes layoffs of about 25 percent of its work force and resignations of two of its top executives.

    Copper Mountain Networks announced on Wednesday that it would cut 25 percent of its work force as part of a larger restructuring plan.

    The broadband equipment maker also said that two of its top executives would step down. The restructuring news sent the company's stock down 17 percent in after-hours trading, marking a new 52-week low.

    In the regular session, shares closed 2 percent lower to $4.47. Stock in the company has traded as high as $125.69 and as low as $4 in the past year.

    Although broadband Internet access is a hot market, Copper Mountain's local phone company customers have been severely hurt by a shortfall of investment capital and intense competition from the Baby Bell local phone giants. Many of these smaller phone companies are hurting financially, and those that are not have been reluctant to spend heavily on new hardware in the face of a slowing economy.

    The malaise has begun to affect not only Copper Mountain and other relatively small hardware makers, but also industry heavyweights such as Cisco Systems, Lucent Technologies and Nortel Networks.

    The company said that Chairman Joseph Markee and Chief Financial Officer John Creelman have resigned, though Markee will remain on the board of directors.

    Chief Executive Rick Gilbert will serve as chairman of the board, while Steven Hunt and Michael Staiger, both previously vice presidents, will assume Markee's and Creelman's duties respectively.

    Of the company's 450 workers, those affected by the cutbacks primarily came from sales, customer support, operations, and general and administrative support, the company said.

    Copper Mountain expects to take a charge against first-quarter earnings of between $5 million and $7 million for severance benefits, outplacement and related cost-cutting moves. The company reduced its quarterly financial estimates last month and in January.