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Juniper employees get their walking papers

The struggling network-equipment maker completes its previously announced layoffs, cutting about 100 jobs.

    Struggling network-equipment maker Juniper Networks completed its previously announced layoffs Friday as approximately 100 employees lost their jobs.

    Last week, Juniper warned it would fall well short of analysts' estimates in its second quarter and lay off between 8 percent and 9 percent of its staff.

    "I can confirm that those layoffs were completed (Friday)," said a Juniper representative. "This process began earlier this week and it's now over."

    Juniper said pink-slipped employees were from a variety of departments within the company.

    At the time the layoffs were announced, the company told investors to brace for second-quarter sales of between $200 million and $210 million and earnings of between 8 cents and 9 cents a share.

    First Call consensus had predicted the Sunnyvale, Calif., company would earn 24 cents a share on sales of between $300 million and $330 million.

    "This is a company that's just coming off a record hiring quarter," said Merrill Lynch analyst Samuel Wilson. "That shows just how fast and how severe this downturn has been."

    At the end of the first quarter, Juniper had 1,162 employees.

    Wilson added that Juniper's sequential quarterly sales growth over the past five quarters best illustrates why the company is now forced to reduce its head count.

    "From the June 2000 quarter, their sales improved 77 percent, 78 percent, 47 percent, 12 percent and then fell 38 percent in their latest quarter," he said. "That's straight off the cliff."

    The company said it will take a one-time restructuring charge of up to $45 million in the second quarter to account for the layoffs and the declining value of short-term investments.

    Last quarter, Juniper met analysts' estimates when it posted a profit of $58.6 million, or 17 cents a share, on sales of $332.1 million.

    Juniper shares closed off $1.16 to $31.14 in Friday trading, down 87 percent from a 52-week high of $244.50 established in October.

    Twenty-one of the 26 analysts tracking the stock maintain either a "buy" or "strong buy" recommendation.

    News.com's Wylie Wong contributed to this report.