Lincoln Electric Slashing Jobs, Salaries

Welding products manufacturer will eliminate over 10 percent of its global work force, cut executive salaries, and cut hours at a plant in Cleveland as it tries to reduce costs.

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Lincoln Electric Holdings Inc. said Monday that it will eliminate more than 10 percent of its global work force and cut executive salaries in an attempt to lower costs to deal with current economic conditions.

The welding products manufacturer also plans to continue to cut hours at its Cleveland plant, freeze merit raises and external hiring, slash annual capital expenditures by at least $20 million and trim overall 2009 salaries by 20 percent to 45 percent.

In addition, Lincoln will suspend its 401(k) match and offer voluntary buyouts to about 2,900 Cleveland employees.

The news release did not say how many jobs would be cut. According to its Web site, Lincoln Electric has a global work force of more than 9,000.

The moves are expected to result in annual savings of approximately $50 million, the company said.

Lincoln said it ended 2008 with a cash balance of more than $275 million and no debt.

The company will report fourth-quarter and full-year financials on Feb. 23.

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