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Agere to Streamline Operations

Agere Systems , which develops and makes communications components, said it would implement a cost-cutting program that would include the closing of some plants and the loss of 1,400 jobs. The company made the announcement at the same time it revealed first-quarter losses that matched Wall Street expectations.

Agere said it expects that today's initiatives, combined with previous actions, will allow the company to reach by the end of the calendar year its target cost and expense structure. This will enable the company to breakeven at $700 million of quarterly revenue.

Agere -- formerly a Lucent Technologies subsidiary -- has already implemented a cost-cutting strategy. Today, the company said it would further streamline its operations by looking for a buyer for its wafer-fabrication operation in Orlando, Fla. Also, Agere said it would combine a majority of its integrated circuits (IC) and optoelectronics operations from the company's sites in Reading and Breinigsville, Pa., into the Allentown, Pa., campus. The company will also move about half of its New Jersey workforce, which includes product development positions, to Allentown.

The company has already has had preliminary discussions with potential buyers for the Orlando facility, Agere said in a statement.

"We are streamlining our business to create an operating model that will best support Agere's future profitable growth," said John Dickson, Agere Systems president and chief executive officer (CEO).

As it moves operations to Allentown, Agere said it would also seek buyers for its Reading and Breinigsville facilities. That combination will result in 300 workers receiving pink slips, officials said.

Agere's Orlando facility, which manufactures advanced CMOS-based chips for use in a variety of applications, has a workforce of approximately 1,100 employees.

In the last calendar year, the company announced workforce reductions of approximately 7,000 employees, a majority of whom were associated with the company's manufacturing operations.

For its first fiscal quarter, Agere posted a loss before special items of $282 million or $0.17 a share, in line with Wall Street estimates, according to Thomson Financial/First Call. In the year-ago period, Agere earned $102 million or $0.06 a share.

In its fourth quarter, Agere reported a net loss of $375 million or $0.23 a share, compared to a net loss of $4 million or breakeven per share in the year-ago quarter.

Revenues for the first quarter of fiscal 2002 were $537 million, down approximately 10 percent from the September quarter and in line with the guidance provided by the company in October, officials also said.