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Agilent to Cut 2,700 Jobs in Restructuring

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Agilent Technologies today announced a restructuring and downsizing of its Electronic Measurement businesses, which will include laying off 2,700 employees.

It does not appear that the cuts will affect Agilent's Bio-Analytical Measurement segment, which includes its life science products businesses.

The firm said that the restructuring is in response to "the most severe global downturn in the company's history."

Last month, Agilent reported that its fiscal 2009 first-quarter revenues had dropped 16 percent year over year to $1.17 billion, and its profit fell 47 percent to $64 million, or $.18 per share. Its Bio-Analytical Measurement revenues fell 1 percent year over year, making that segment a relative bright spot for the firm.

Agilent said that fiscal 2009 revenue for the Electronic Measurement segment is expected to be down around 30 percent compared to 2008 — down to its lowest level in the firm's 10-year history. Revenue for the Semiconductor and Board Test segment is expected to be down more than 50 percent from last year, it said.

"We have been very aggressive to date in addressing the downturn in electronic measurement markets," said Agilent President and CEO Bill Sullivan in a statement. "However, business remains severely depressed, and there are no prospects for a meaningful recovery in the foreseeable future. Therefore, we have no choice but to resize our electronic measurement businesses for the realities of the marketplace."

The firm said the cuts would reduce annual costs in the Electronic Measurement segment by $300 million, but it will have an initial cost to the company of $160 million. The restructuring of the firm's Semiconductor and Board Test segment is expected to reduce annual costs by an additional $10 million.

This most recent round of cuts follows plans announced by Agilent in December to trim 300 positions from its temporary workforce and 500 positions from its regular global workforce. The firm said that initial restructuring was expected to reduce its annual operating expenses by around $65 million.

In addition to the restructuring, Agilent said that it has temporarily suspended its share repurchase program until the end of the 2009 fiscal year.

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