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Nortel Networks to chop 5,000 more jobs, issues new revenue warning
TORONTO, Mar 27, 2001 (The Canadian Press via COMTEX) -- High-tech giant Nortel Networks (NT) issued a new revenue warning Tuesday and said it will
cut an additional 5,000 jobs from its global workforce as the company deals with weaker markets in the United States.
The new job reductions will pare the Canadian company's workforce by 15,000 this year. About 10,000 cuts were announced earlier as Nortel struggled to deal
with a sharp decline in spending by its telecom industry customers.
Please see below for a look at some Nortel numbers
The former stock market darling has fallen on tough times but is still one of the dominant companies in the world's Internet equipment business. At the end of last
year, Nortel employed about 94,000 people, including 23,000 in Canada.
"We continue to feel the impact of the economic downturn in the United States and are now seeing customers globally assess its effect on their businesses," Nortel
chief executive John Roth said in a release after the close of stock markets Tuesday.
"Reduced and-or deferred capital spending and increased pricing pressure are resulting in lower overall revenues, particularly in the United States."
Tuesday's surprise warning is one of several the Brampton, Ont. company has made in recent months as its once stellar operations got squeezed by the rapid
downturn in the U.S. economy.
In February, Nortel issued an operating warning, saying it would generate revenues of $6.3 billion US for the first quarter and lose four cents a share from
That warning sent Canada's largest stock market plunging and wiped out tens of billions of dollars in stock values since Nortel was one of the Toronto Stock
Exchange's most important companies.
In its latest warning, the company said it expects revenues for the first quarter of between $6.1 billion US to $6.2 billion US and a loss from operations of 10 cents
to 12 cents US a share.
With about 3.2 billion Nortel shares outstanding, that could mean an operating loss of more than $300 million US for the three-month period.
The Nortel revenue and job cut warning was issued after stock markets closed Tuesday, so investors should be braced for a hit when trading resumes Wednesday.
In earlier trading Tuesday, Nortel shares closed down 12 cents to close at $26.30 on the Toronto Stock Exchange. However, the impact on share prices could be
less severe this time.
"I certainly would not expect Nortel is going to open up particularlty close to its close here today," said Fred Ketchen, chief equities trader at Scotia Capital
Markets. "Certainly it will have an effect.
"(But) keep in mind that Nortel's weighting within the index is not near what it was six months ago, when it had a huge influence," Ketchen said, estimating Nortel
currently holds about 12 per cent of the TSE 300's value, down from about 30 per cent last year.
Paul Sagawa, a senior research analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein and Co. in New York, said he was surprised at the magnitude of Nortel's latest cuts, saying he had
been forecasting a loss of about eight cents a share for the first quarter.
In addition to a sharp Nortel drop on the markets Wednesday, the news "will have an effect on all tech issues," Sagawa said.
"The rally that we saw over the last few days has come to an end."
On the jobs front, Nortel said it will have 15,000 fewer employees by mid-year from its worforce at the end of 2000 and will continue ''driving further improvements
in productivity and efficiency despite a difficult economic environment."
Roth said he couldn't predict the company's full-year financial performance, but said the network systems giant is well poised to benefit when the North American
telecom industry recovers.
"Given the poor visibility into the duration and breadth of the economic downturn and its impact on the overall market growth in 2001, it is not possible to provide
meaningful guidance for the company's financial performance for the full year 2001," Roth said.
The Nortel CEO's credibility had come into question over Nortel's failure to revise its revenue targets more quickly, while the company faces lawsuits in Canada and
the United States over last month's stock collapse and allegations of insider trading by some Nortel executives.
"We continue to align our cost structure and industry leading product portfolio with our customers priorities and plans," Roth continued.
"It is our belief that Nortel Networks continues to be the best positioned high-performance Internet and communications equipment vendor for the customers we
serve, and that our global leadership position combined with our agility will enable us to weather the current economic storm and come out of it a stronger company."
In earlier trading Tuesday, Nortel shares fell 12 cents to close at $26.30 on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Some analysts said the company could drop another $5 or
$6 a share in Wednesday trading.
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