Evans & Sutherland Announces 15 Percent Staff Cut

Evans & Sutherland Announces 15 Percent Staff Cut

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SALT LAKE CITY(AP) -- Evans & Sutherland Computer Corp. has cut the jobs of about 50 workers in an effort to make the company show a profit by the end of this year.

The Salt Lake-based maker of computer simulation systems announced Friday that it was cutting its work force by 15 percent. The company refused to say exactly how many workers would be affected, but Evans & Sutherland had about 450 workers following another round of cuts in March.

The company said the cuts were the final piece of restructuring efforts started about two years ago. Spokeswoman Joan Mitchell said the company's work force total has fallen 60 percent from its 1999 peak of about 950. That year was the last one in which the company earned a profit.

Mitchell said company officials believe the restructuring will allow Evans & Sutherland to be profitable during the 2003 fourth quarter and during 2004.

"We believe we have a strategy in place to improve financial performance," she said. "We're dealing with a very unfavorable market cycle, and we're planning to emerge from that in good condition. We made a reduction in March based on forecasts for what the (simulation) market would be doing the rest of 2003.

"A lot of those improvements haven't come to pass. We don't expect the market to come around significantly until at least 2005, so we are adjusting staff levels to be profitable under the current conditions."

Most of the employees affected by the new layoffs worked in Salt Lake City and Horsham, England. Those in the United States were let go Friday with two weeks of severance pay in lieu of notice, plus outplacement help.

Unaffected by the restructuring is the company's digital theater division, which manufactures products for use in planetariums. That division is expected to be profitable the remainder of the year, Mitchell said.

E&S stock rose 9 cents Friday to close at $6.06 per share. During the past year, the price has ranged from $2.06 to $6.90.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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