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Agilent Product Orders, Revenue Nosedive in Q4; Firm to Cut 4,000 Jobs

NEW YORK, Nov. 16 - Agilent Technologies said on Thursday that orders and revenues were slashed by roughly half over last year as the company struggled to regain profitability.

 

Agilent also said it would cut 4,000 jobs—effectively doubling previously announced cuts and shelving for more than a year any plans for a financial recovery. However, none of the jobs cut was in the life sciences business, an Agilent spokesperson said. In fact, the spokesperson said that Agilent may be hiring more staff to fill a growing demand in the unit, which is the only one of Agilent's three businesses to post an increase in revenue.

 

Total revenue for the period ended Oct. 31 plummeted 47 percent to $1.6 billion from $2.7 billion in the fourth quarter 2000, and total orders reached $1.2 billion, down from the $2.6 billion the firm enjoyed during the same period one year earlier, Agilent said. The company's chemical analysis business was the only one to record an increase in orders for the quarter, posting a 1 percent increase over the same period one year ago to $285 million; the company's semiconductor business recorded a 56 percent dip in orders to $260 million, and the firm's test and measurement unit posted the largest drop in orders, a 64 percent plunge to $676 million.

 

"Continued weakness in customer demand clearly indicates that the recovery will be delayed and more gradual than  we expected," Ned Barnholt, Agilent's CEO said in a statement.

 

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company also reported a pro forma net loss of $275 billion, or 60 cents per diluted share, compared with $328 billion, or 71 cents per share, from the same period one year ago.

 

Agilent also noted falling orders for semiconductors and testing equipment and gave a glum outlook, and said it planned to offer $1 billion of debt despite a downgrading in its corporate rating by Standard & Poor's.

 

"These latest cost-cutting actions—coupled with strong new product introductions and entry into new markets—are intended to return Agilent to profitability sometime during our third fiscal quarter of 2002, independent of how much improvement we see in the industry and the economy at large,'' Barnholt said in the statement.

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