Troubled Lucent lays off 15,000 to 20,000 workers

Besides reporting a revenue drop and continuing losses in the third quarter, Lucent Technologies Inc. announced Tuesday that it will reduce its head count by an additional 15,000 to 20,000 employees, and that it has sold its fibre-optics unit for US$2.75 billion to Furukawa Electric Co. Ltd.

Lucent reported a loss of $1.89 billion, or $0.55 a share, in its continuing operations in the third quarter, compared with net income of $286 million, or $0.09 a share a year ago. Adding Lucent’s losses from discontinued operations – like its Agere Systems Inc. microelectronics unit – the company reported a net loss of $3.25 billion, or $0.95 per share, compared with a net loss of $301 million, or $0.09 per share, in the year-ago quarter.

Reported revenue declined 21 per cent to $5.82 billion in the third quarter compared with $7.41 billion in the year-ago quarter, and declined 1.6 per cent sequentially from the $5.92 billion posted last quarter.

Lucent’s pro forma loss of $1.2 billion, or $0.35 per share improved by five per cent over the $0.37 per-share loss of the previous quarter. The company earned $776 million, or $0.23 per share in pro forma income in the third quarter of 2000.

Looking to reduce annual operating expenses by another $2 billion, Lucent said in its earnings announcement that it will reduce its work force by another 15,000 to 20,000 workers, adding to the 19,000 it has already laid off this year. The company expects to record a charge related to the reductions in the range of $7 billion to $9 billion in the fourth fiscal quarter of 2001.

“We’re taking decisive actions to turn Lucent around,” said Henry Schacht, Lucent’s chairman and CEO, in an online conference call Tuesday.

The company also said it sold its manufacturing plants in Oklahoma City and Columbus, Ohio, to electronics manufacturer Celestica Inc. for up to $650 million.

Separately, Lucent announced it sold its Optical Fiber Solutions (OFS) business to Furukawa, in a deal that mostly involves cash. However, up to $250 million of the dead may be paid in CommScope Inc. securities. CommScope and Furukawa will form a joint venture to operate Lucent’s fibre-optics business.

Corning Inc. will pay $225 million in cash for Lucent’s interests in two joint ventures in China – Lucent Technologies Shanghai Fiber Optic Co. Ltd. and Lucent Technologies Beijing Fiber Optic Cable Co. Ltd.

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

Canadian coverage of this story will follow.

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