OC Oerlikon To Cut 2,500 Jobs

Swiss industrial group cutting 2,500 jobs and replacing its chief executive after posting a $93 million loss for the first half of the year.

PFAEFFIKON, Switzerland (AP) -- Swiss industrial group OC Oerlikon said Tuesday it is cutting 2,500 jobs and replacing its chief executive after posting a 99 million Swiss francs ($93 million) loss for the first half of the year.

Shares in Oerlikon, which makes industrial coatings and components for cars, solar panels and pumps, fell 10.3 percent to close at 65.10 francs ($61.41) on the Zurich exchange.

The company already cut 1,500 jobs earlier this year. The additional cuts are part of a plan to reduce costs by 400 million francs compared with 2008, and will largely affect Oerlikon's textile and drive systems units.

Spokesman Burkhard Boendel said several hundred jobs would likely go in the United States, but declined to provide details. Italy and Germany will also face cuts, he said. Oerlikon said it had 18,385 employees in 2008.

Meanwhile, the company said Hans Ziegler would take over as acting CEO with immediate effect, replacing Uwe Krueger, who led Oerlikon since 2007. Ziegler will take charge for four to six months, while the board seeks a permanent replacement.

The Renova Group investment firm of Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, which holds 44.67 percent of Oerlikon shares, welcomed the announcement.

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