Bull to cut 1800 jobs in 1999

As part of an overall restructuring plan aimed at offering more Internet products and services, Groupe Bull SA will lay off 1800 employees around the world, a spokesman confirmed yesterday.

Computer maker Bull watched its profits tumble in 1998 as it struggled to put in place a restructuring and employee retraining plan started earlier in the year. The French company has been working for the last two years to mould itself into a software and services company concentrating on Internet technologies.

"Bull is trying hard to adapt to its future markets, centred on services, security and e-commerce," said company spokesman Jean-Jacques Roulman. The people who will lose their jobs include mainframe specialists who opted not to be retrained, employees in administrative and support departments, and engineers in Bull's research and development division, he said.

Of the 1800 job cuts, 1000 will be in France and 240 in Bull's Italian subsidiary, Roulman said. However, Bull will also cut jobs in other European countries and in the US, he said. The layoffs will happen in 1999. Meanwhile, Bull hired 1000 employees in its service division in 1998 and expects to hire at least that many in 1999, Roulman said.

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