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Bookham Inc - the fiber optic company that used to be based in the UK before upping sticks and settling in the US - is axing 150 jobs at its factory in Paignton, Devon.

Instead, the jobs are to be transferred to Bookham's factory in China as part of the firm's efforts to cut costs.

The job losses are expected to be completed by autumn 2006 although Paignton will continue to operate as an R&D facility employing some 200 staff.

In a statement the company said: "Bookham, Inc. has today announced to its employees that as part of the company's previously disclosed restructuring plans it will be transferring a portion of its operations in Paignton, the Chip on Carrier manufacturing process, to its manufacturing facility in Shenzhen, China.

"The company has so far made substantial progress in moving assembly and test operations to the Far East site and has seen positive cost reductions. Bookham expects the Chip on Carrier transfer to impact approximately 150 employees in Paignton."

This latest round of job cuts in Devon follows the loss of 600 jobs last year. In March 2004, Bookham announced that it planned to shunt jobs overseas after opening a manufacturing plant in China to "substantially reduce the cost of assembling the company's products". ®

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