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Charles River Labs to Shutter Contract-Production Business, Cut Staff

NEW YORK, May 1 - Charles River Laboratories will shutter its contract-production business and sell its assets, reduce headcount across much of the company, and initiate a hiring freeze, according to a company spokeswoman.


The job cuts will begin in the second quarter and continue throughout the remainder of 2003, said the spokeswoman, Susan Hardy. She declined to say how many jobs will be affected, but said management "has a plan."


"The lay offs will be in a number of places, but it's not wholesale across the company," she said. It includes business that "are not performing as we expected them to." The steps are expected to save CLL around $7 million in 2003, the statement said.


Hardy made her statement in an interview with GenomeWeb after being asked to explain a statement in CLL's first-quarter earnings report that said the company "is in the process of implementing several changes and cost reductions."


Elsewhere in the statement, CLL reported that its revenues for the period ended March 29 increased almost 14 percent to $152.1 million from $133.8 million year over year.


SG&A in the quarter increased to $$22.1 million from $20.9 million in the first quarter 2002. (CLL does not report R&D spending because it amounts to less than 1 percent of sales, said Hardy.)


CLL posted a strong jump in net income, which swelled to $19.4 million, or $.43 per share, from a net loss of $2.2 million, or $.05 per share for the same period last year.


CLL had approximately $119 million in cash and cash equivalents as of March 29.


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