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Bookham junks disruptive technology, disrupts 180 jobs

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Bookham Technology, the lossmaking UK fibre optics comms components maker, is axeing 160-180 jobs in a move to reduce cash burn.

The job cuts affect R&D, manufacturing and support staff working on the company's ASOC operations. Today the company announced its intention to withdraw from this business and its intention to dispose of its wafer fab at Milton, UK. Once upon a time, Bookham described ASOC as a disruptive technology. Now it looks like the only disruptive thing about it will be the impact of its demise on the livelihoods of 180 or so people.

Following the job losses, Bookham will have a staff roster of approx. 1,500.

Along with cost-cutting moves announced earlier this year, today's reductions will ensure that Bookham's break-even point is reduced to £30m-£35m a quarter, the company says.

Bookham's loss for Q2, 2003 was £16.9 million on sales of £21m. So it has a big sales job to do too. The company's fortunes are tied to the health of the networking equipment market: just three vendors, Nortel, with 61 per cent, and Marconi and Huawei with 10 per cent apiece, account for four-fifths of the firm's revenue. ®

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