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Netcentives to halve its work force

The software developer will cut nearly half its staff in an attempt to turn around its foundering online marketing business.

Software developer Netcentives this week will cut nearly half its staff in an attempt to turn around its foundering online marketing business.

Netcentives said it would cut 165 positions at its San Francisco headquarters, at its offices in New York and Phoenix and at field offices throughout the country. The across-the-board cuts will bring the head count down to 180 from 345.

This week's layoffs follow 120 layoffs in April.

The company characterized the reduction as the first step in a wide-ranging restructuring effort. The company in a statement also pledged to "reduce its debt to manageable levels, divest non-core assets, and preserve cash flow to fund business operations."

Netcentives last week reported financial results for its second quarter, which ended June 30, 2001. The loss for the quarter was 26 cents per share, an improvement over last year's second-quarter loss of 38 cents per share and also over analysts' expectations of a 30 cent per share loss, according to First Call.

However, the company's new chief executive, Eric Larsen, rescinded Netcentives' projections to break even by the end of the year.

"At our current cash level, we have come to a critical point in the company's history where continued operations are contingent on an additional cash infusion and further managing down our cost structure, which includes work force reductions," Larsen said in a statement.