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Huber and Suhner cuts 300 jobs

Chairman Marc Chappis has told shareholders that the cuts were "unavoidable" Keystone Archive

The telecommunications equipment producer, Huber and Suhner, announced on Friday it was cutting 300 jobs at its plants in Britain and the United States.

The company will also introduce reduced working hours (50 per cent) in September for 300 to 400 employees in the Communications Technologies sector at its Herisau base in eastern Switzerland.

In a statement, the company said weaker investment activity in many areas of the telecommunications industry coupled with the economic slowdown in many industrialised countries had made the cutbacks unavoidable.

It added that should the upturn in the mobile telecommunications industry take longer than expected to materialise, further steps to reduce capacity and costs might be needed.

Net profit in the first half of the year plunged by 59.5 per cent to SFr10.9 million ($6.55 million) compared with the same period last year. Group sales were down by 4.9 per cent at SFr409.5 million.

Huber and Suhner says it expects sales of about SFr750 million for the year as a whole, with a net profit “significantly below” the previous year’s record level of SFr50.2 million.

Despite the “clearly unsatisfactory” results, the company said it was optimistic about the future. As a leading provider of high-frequency technology, it stood to benefit from a wave of investment as network operators began to build their UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) infrastructure.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR