Applied Materials to cut 1 000 jobs worldwide

Applied Materials, the largest builder of chipmaking equipment, has decided to batten down the hatches in preparation for a downturn in its market. On Monday, analysts predicted that the fab-kit market would shrink in 2008 as chipmakers tighten up on capital expenditure. A day later, Applied said it would cut 1,000 jobs.

Fab-tool maker Applied Materials has said it will cut 1,000 jobs this year. The move comes after the company issued a profits warning following the 2007 slump in the DRAM market and a day after analysts lined up at SEMI's Industry Strategy Symposium to claim the market for chipmaking equipment overall would drop around 10 per cent in 2008. The 1,000 job cuts will mean the company cutting its global workforce by about 7 per cent, through a combination of job elimination and attrition, Applied said.

"To better serve our customers, last summer we reorganised our semiconductor equipment business into a single silicon systems group, and we have achieved synergies across this organisation as a result," said Mike Splinter, president and CEO. "We are focused on improving operational efficiencies and the cost structure of our businesses, as well as enhancing our ability to pursue growth opportunities."

Applied expects the cuts to cost approximately $20m, with the majority of the charges being recorded in the first quarter of fiscal 2008, and to complete the plan by the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008. The plan is expected to result in annual savings of about $150m compared with fiscal 2007 spending levels.

More information: Analysts predict slump in fab-kit market as chip sales rise

Image: A metal-etch tool, one of the many pieces of equipment used in chipmaking

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