Corel cuts Irish workers

In what Corel Corp. insisted will be the final round of layoffs needed to combat a financial crisis that began last spring, the embattled software vendor recently announced plans to eliminate 139 software development and technological support jobs at its facility in Dublin, Ireland.

Derek J. Burney, Corel’s acting president and CEO, said the Irish operation had been in charge of translating the company’s software products to support foreign languages and international computing languages. That work will now be absorbed within Corel’s headquarters operation in Ottawa, leaving only a 20-person support staff in Ireland.

The layoffs are due to take place in stages through November, according to Corel. Burney – who has been running the company since former CEO Michael Cowpland resigned last month – pledged that the Canadian operation will be able to continue the international translations. Roughly half of Corel’s revenue comes from the international market, he added.

The announced cuts are the final phase of a 320-worker reduction that Corel began in June as part of a move to lower its annual expenses by US$40 million. Corel, which had warned that it was close to running out of money before securing new financing in the spring, said it has slashed US$18 million in annual salary costs and pared US$12 million from its marketing budget and US$5 million in both sales and general administrative costs.

During a press conference, Burney vowed that Corel will now be “better disciplined.” He also maintained that all of the job losses – amounting to a total reduction of 21 per cent in the company’s workforce – wouldn’t affect its ability to develop new software, especially in regards to its effort to move more into the Linux business.

Burney said CorelDraw 10, an upgrade of the company’s graphics and publishing software for Windows machines, will be available on time in November. He added that promised Linux server and application software should be ready for release early next year. “As a company, we’ve always met our deadlines, and we will continue to meet our deadlines,” Burney said.

Two more announcements concerning Corel’s corporate structure and its cash flow are expected to come before the end of the year, Burney said. But he declined to disclose any details, saying that the plans hadn’t yet been finalized.