Tellabs to close Quebec plant, reduce workforce

Data switching and bandwidth management solution maker Tellabs Inc. announced Tuesday it will be handing out more than 350 pink slips to staff in the U.S., Canada and overseas as part of a strategy to refocus its efforts in higher growth markets.

In addition, the Naperville, Ill.-based company plans to close its St. Laurent, Que. development centre by mid-2004, bringing development back into its U.S. centres in Illinois and Virginia.

The St. Laurent site has been home to Tellabs’ dense wave division multiplexing (DWDM) development, a market the company has no current plans to leave. The closure will leave 120 Canadian employees out of work.

According to George Steinitzer, vice-president of corporate communications for Tellabs, the company has decided to channel its energies into the carrier-class data solutions market. In June, Tellabs acquired San Jose-based Vivace Networks, a carrier-class data solutions provider, and announced an internally-developed offering – the Tellabs 8600 – in September.

“We have a couple of products in a market we had nothing in at the beginning of the year,” Steinitzer said. “This appears to be where our customers are most interested in making purchases going forward.”

The company is still on the fence about whether or not to keep its Finland development centre operational. A decision is expected to be made by year-end.

While the Canadian arm will see 120 lost jobs, the company is also reducing its international workforce by approximately 50 employees, as well as its U.S. workforce by an estimated 200 employees.

Tellabs is offering severance benefits including a minimum of six weeks severance pay, benefits and employment search assistance.

The St. Laurent development centre is Tellabs’ only Canadian facility. The company continues to operate its Canadian sales office in Mississauga, Ont., and said it has no current plans to close the branch.

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