Agilent Technologies To Lay Off 2,700

Scientific-instrument maker says it will lay off 2,700 workers and halt share buybacks as the company struggles with an unprecedented drop in demand.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) -- Agilent Technologies Inc. said Thursday it will lay off 2,700 workers and halt share buybacks as the scientific-instrument maker struggles with a huge drop in demand.

The company expects revenue in its electronic-measurement segment to drop 30 percent in fiscal 2009 -- the lowest level in its 10-year history.

Revenue in its chip and board test segment is expected to fall 50 percent from the 2008 level, and 65 percent from its peak volume.

Agilent is cutting annual costs by $300 million in its electronic-measurement segment and by $10 million in its chip and board test segment.

The company will also suspend share buybacks for the rest of its fiscal year, which ends in October.

The 2,700 layoffs bring the number of employees who have been laid off since December 2008 to 3,800, spokeswoman Amy Flores said, marking a 20 percent cut in workers since the end of last year.

The moves entail cash costs of about $160 million.

"Business remains severely depressed, and there are no prospects for a meaningful recovery in the foreseeable future," Chief Executive Bill Sullivan, said in a statement released by the company.

Shares rose 83 cents, or 5.2 percent, to $16.79. In the last 52 weeks, shares have fallen 47 percent.

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