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18,493 Fired, With Xerox Paving Way
By Paul Tharp   N.Y. Post
For nearly 18,500 workers, it was a St. Valentine's Day massacre.

Xerox led the bloodbath, with an exec predicting that as many as 10,000 would be heading for the layoff heap.

Meanwhile, Goodyear Tire & Rubber said it would lay off 7,200 - on top of another 3,500 it wiped off the payroll in recent months.

Xerox may eliminate the 10,000 jobs, or 11 percent of its work force, in coming months in a desperate bid to become profitable again, according to Carlos Pascual, executive vice president for developing markets.

"You can look at something around 10,000," Pascual told Bloomberg TV. "That's a number that may represent the savings we are trying to get out during 2001."

Xerox already fired 2,000 workers last year and said it would fire another 4,000 in the first quarter.

The big copier company plans to cut $1 billion in costs and sell up to $4 billion in assets in hopes of regaining profits.

Competition, internal turmoil, a cash crunch and accounting problems caused Xerox to lose money in the second half of 2000.

Goodyear blamed weak profits on softness in the new-auto sales sector as well as skyrocketing prices for oil and other raw materials used in making tires.

In other job cuts, Ford Motor said it will indefinitely lay off as many as 500 workers at its Avon Lake, Ohio, assembly plant next month due to excess inventory of Mercury Village and Quest minivans.

Scented-candle maker Yankee Candle said it will cut 455 jobs, or 15 percent of its workforce, to save about $10 million a year - despite strong sales. Sales are up 27 percent for the fourth quarter to $141.1 million and profit in the quarter rose 22 percent to $22.7 million.

Meanwhile, Goodyear said it wasn't all gloom for the entire year. Executives said earnings should be better by the end of the year.

"We expect the last half of 2001 to be better than the first half of 2000," said Samir Gibara, Goodyear's chairman and chief executive officer.

Goodyear had operating earnings of $118.1 million, or 75 cents a share, in the first half. Gibara said the company should be able to return to the higher profit levels of 1997 and 1998 - but not until 2002.

Goodyear said it expects its latest layoffs to save about $150 million this year and about $250 million annually after that.

Including unusual items, Goodyear had a net loss of $102 million, or 65 cents a share, compared with a profit of $37 million, or 23 cents a share, a year earlier. Sales fell to $3.5 billion from $3.7 billion.

The company recorded a fourth-quarter charge of $93.7 million, or 59 cents a share, for cutting the 7,200 employees and closing plants.

It also said it plans to take another restructuring charge of $64 million in the first quarter of 2001.

Goodyear does plan to boost its advertising spending by more than 30 percent this year.

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