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Gretag to axe 800 jobs

Gretag Imaging is taking sweeping measures to bring about a turnaround Keystone Archive

Gretag Imaging, which supplies photo finishing and imaging equipment, says it is to cut 800 jobs this year. The announcement comes after heavy losses and a sales slump during the first half of the year, mainly due to a collapse of business in the United States.

The news sent the share price tumbling by more than 34 per cent on Monday in Zurich to SFr8 ($4.81), from SFr12.25 at the close on Friday.

The company said sales had declined by 47 per cent to SFr265 million, compared with SFr504 million in the first half last year. It reported a net loss of SFr152 million and expects to make another loss in the second half of the year.

Gretag added that its liquidity position had been placed under strain by the impact of the trading losses and a number of refinancing options were currently being considered and negotiated.

In a statement, Gretag said “sweeping” cost-cutting measures had been adopted and implemented in several stages since the beginning of the year.

It said that in light of the current difficulties, shorter working hours work would be introduced at the production site in Regensdorf near Zurich and that this would affect half of the staff. The company, which had 2,800 employees at the beginning of this year, said that the figure would be below 2,000 by the end of the year.

The statement said that with hindsight, the company could see that it was wrong to focus solely on sales growth.

“As a result we have ourselves contributed to a certain market saturation that is now causing us many problems,” the statement added.

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