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Compaq is to slash its Singapore budget in October, casting off 1600 of its 2600 jobs, representing a massive 62 per cent of its payroll. The company plans to sell its plant in Yishun in northern Singapore, and says that its redundant workers could find jobs with the new owner. Compaq officials would not comment on potential savings to the company, or on charges for the cuts. "It will improve gross margins and return to shareholders," said Tan Choon Seng, vice president for finance and strategic planning at Compaq. This is the latest in a string of jobs losses in the island's electronics industry. Disk drive manufacturers Western Digital and Seagate said that they would be shedding 4100 jobs in order to stay competitive. Seagate will move its operations to Malaysia. Singapore's economic recovery has been dependant on the electronics industry, but analysts say that the industry will continue to grow in the region, despite the losses. Electronics output increased by 20.7 per cent last year, including a 34 per cent increase in July on the previous year. The cuts will be completed by March next year, and are part of Compaq's worldwide belt tightening operation, aiming to reduce the workforce by 8000 overall. ®

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