JDS Forced To Realign, Cut Staff

With $1.3 billion in net losses for the first quarter, JDS Uniphase Corp. Tuesday was forced to realign its operations and lay off 5,000 employees.

The company, an international manufacturer of fiber optics equipment, was unable to escape the fate that befell others in its space, including Cisco Systems Inc., and Lucent Technologies Inc.

The three companies were unable to stave off losses after the Internet economy collapsed, prompting vendors to decrease its orders to the equipment makers, forcing JDS and others to scale back operations.

In a meeting with analysts Tuesday morning, Anthony Muller, JDS’ chief financial officer, was unable to predict the company’s revenues after the summer.

When asked whether the high-tech industry, and equipment makers specifically, had reached the bottom, he replied, “We’re not sure.”

Jozef Straus, JDS co-chairman and chief executive officer, said his company was well-positioned when it performed in the market last year, but extenuating circumstances called for Tuesday’s cutbacks.

“We believe we have served our customers well during prior periods of exploding demand,” Straus said in a statement. “The global realignment program we are announcing today is our response both for now and for the future. While employment reductions of many who have served our customers so well are extremely difficult, we must prepare for the future by creating a product portfolio and cost structure that will permit us to continue to serve the needs of our customers and grow with markets.”

It will cost the San Jose, Calif.-based outfit more than $375 million to realign its operations, which includes employee severance, inventory write-offs and moving out of 25 buildings worldwide.

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