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Agilent Investigating Possible Business Infractions in China; Discloses Additional 250 Layoffs

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Agilent Technologies has launched an investigation into activities of certain of its employees in China for possible infractions of US law, the company said in its Form 10-Q.

The company also said that a total of 700 employees are expected to be laid off from as a result of its restructuring and manufacturing streamlining efforts.

In the document filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday, Agilent said that it uncovered activity by certain employees of its subsidiaries in China that does not comply with the company's standards of business conduct and other policies. Based on those findings, it initiated an internal investigation related to the sale of some of its products through third party intermediaries in China.

The internal investigation includes a review of whether its employees may have violated the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and other laws and regulations, Agilent said. On Sept. 5, Agilent voluntarily contacted the SEC and the US Department of Justice to advise them of the internal probe.

The company did not specify the nature of the alleged improper activities. It said it will cooperate with any government investigation of the matter, but said that it cannot predict or estimate how long the investigation will last or how much it may cost.

It is unclear whether either the SEC or the DOJ will conduct its own investigation. The SEC declined to comment to GenomeWeb Daily News. On deadline, the DOJ had not responded to a request for comment.

Also, Agilent said that as a result of the previously announced streamlining of its manufacturing operations, it anticipates reducing its headcount by 250 positions.

During its fiscal second quarter earnings announcement, the company said that it would reduce its headcount by about 450 positions as part of a restructuring program. Together, with the 250 figure disclosed in its Form 10-Q, the total number of layoffs from the most recent cost-savings initiatives are anticipated to total 700. As of July 31, about 200 employees had been terminated, Agilent said.

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