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Agilent to cut 450 jobs in healthcare division

PALO ALTO, Calif. — Agilent Technologies is cutting cut 450 jobs, or about 9 percent, of the 5,000 people employed in its healthcare products subsidiary as it seeks to streamline and consolidate manufacturing facilities across the globe.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based industrial instrument manufacturer plans to cut about 200 contract employees from the payroll and accelerate programs to streamline manufacturing operations, affecting facilities in Andover, Mass.; Qingdao, China; and Boeblingen, Germany.

Agilent chief executive Ned Barnholt said Monday in a statement the moves were necessary to return the unit to profitability. Agilent late last month warned Wall Street its upcoming third-quarter profit would be lower than expected.

The company said last quarter it was "disappointed'' in the healthcare products business. Orders in Agilent's healthcare unit during the latest second quarter fell 8 percent to $349 million. Agilent said that factors slowing capital purchasing by its hospital customers include accelerating purchases in 1999 to avoid possible Y2K issues and federal budgetary pressures.

"We don't intend to wait for market conditions to improve before implementing our plans,'' Barnholt said. `We're firmly committed to strengthening this business and are confident that today's actions will help get HSG back on track.''

U.S. workforce layoffs were expected to be completed by Oct. 31; Agilent said it expected a one-time charge of $25 million to complete the global job cuts but would see savings of $80 million annually beginning in 2001.

With approximately 43,000 employees serving customers in more than 120 countries, Agilent Technologies is the spinoff of Hewlett-Packard Co. that design and manufacture test, measurement and monitoring instruments, systems and solutions, and semiconductor and optical components.

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Agilent Technologies site: http://www.agilent.com



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