Report says Lucent to axe additional 5,000 jobs

In the wake of its failed merger plans with Alcatel SA, Lucent Technologies Inc. is looking for ways to raise more capital, which will include eliminating 5,000 jobs, according to a report Wednesday in The Financial Times newspaper.

The troubled telecommunication equipment maker is getting ready to launch a plan, possibly as early as this week, to offer buy-outs or early retirement to U.S.-based mid-level managers with an eye towards phasing out 5,000 jobs, the report said, citing “one person close to Lucent.” This comes on top of the 10,000 job cuts the company announced last January.

Lucent was unable to be reached for immediate comment.

Lucent’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Henry Schacht said in a speech Tuesday at the SuperComm trade show in Atlanta that Lucent had walked away from merger talks with Alcatel because it wouldn’t have been an equal partner in the deal.

But the lack of a merger with France’s Alcatel leaves Lucent scrambling to address its US$1.02 billion first quarter loss. The company in January also announced a plan to cut costs by $2 billion.

“Walking away was a sign of strength and … a sign of unmistakable confidence in our turnaround plan,” Schacht said. He said the company’s central strategy is to focus on sales of telecommunication equipment to major service providers.

Schacht also pointed to the company’s planned sale of its fibre-optic division, which he said is moving forward. “We have multiple bidders and are going into the final round of negotiations,” he said. He declined to offer further details or to predict a date for the sale.

Though Lucent’s CEO did not make any mention of further lay-offs, he did promise to unveil more of its regeneration plans “in the next few days.”

Lucent Technologies, in Murray Hill, N.J., can be reached at