Japan's Kyocera to cut 10,000 jobs overseas

Kyocera, a major Japanese electronic parts manufacturer, is planning to lay off 10,000 workers from its overseas units by the end of this year, a company spokesman said Thursday.

The cuts, which represent around 20 percent of the company's 51,000 strong work force, will be centered on its U.S. units and will also hit other foreign subsidiaries, said Taro Ishin, a spokesman for Kyocera in Kyoto. The company has yet to decide on the specifics of the plan, said Ishin, but he added that no job losses were being planned for Japan.

Kyocera's U.S. units all fall under Kyocera International Inc., a San Diego-based headquarters and holding company. Units include Kyocera Wireless Corp., which was created in February 2000 when Kyocera purchased Qualcomm Inc.'s CDMA (code division multiple access) cellular handset manufacturing division, and Kyocera America Inc., an electronic parts manufacturer.

The announcement comes a week after the company cut its full year group sales forecast for the current year by 14 percent to 1.05 trillion yen (US$8.8 billion). At the same time, the company slashed its group pretax profit forecast by half to 90 billion yen and its group net profit forecast by almost half to 50 billion yen.

Largely behind the downgrade was a collapse in the market for wireless handsets, said the company. Kyocera not only produces finished handsets but also is a major supplier of components to other handset makers and so is being hit from both sides with the slump. The abrupt halt in optical network equipment spending by many U.S. carriers also hit the company's components division, it said.

The company had originally forecast the wireless and components markets would rebound in the second quarter. Kyocera is now pinning its hopes on an end to the slump at the end of the current financial year in March 2002.

Kyocera is not alone in Japan in announcing major job cuts. On Monday this week Toshiba Corp. said it will lay off 18,800 staff between now and March 2004 as part of a corporate-wide restructuring. In the last month Fujitsu Ltd. has also announced plans to lay off 16,400 staff and NEC Corp. said it will restructure with the loss of 4,000 jobs.

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