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Dataproducts to Lay Off 400 in Southland

May 18, 1985|LESLIE BERKMAN | Times Staff Writer

Responding to a shrinking computer market, Dataproducts Corp., a Woodland Hills maker of computer printers, said it plans to lay off 400 of its 2,000 Southland workers by the end of June. Last year, the company laid off 200 workers in Massachusetts and 500 in Europe.

Company spokesman David Rosenbloom said Friday that, in an effort to contain costs, Dataproducts is closing a manufacturing plant in Irvine, which employs 300 workers, and laying off an additional 100 workers in Woodland Hills.

The latest layoffs come in the wake of top management changes at Dataproducts, which earned $27.7 million in its most recent fiscal year, compared to $26 million the year before. The company, however, was hit hard in the fourth quarter ended March 30, when it posted a 75% drop in earnings to $2.6 million from $10.6 million for the year-ago period. Fourth-quarter revenue of $113.8 million was down 10% from the same period a year earlier.

On April 18, in the wake of those declines, Charles Dickinson, Dataproducts' president and chief executive, resigned. His positions have been taken over by the company's founder and chairman, Graham Tyson. Russell Quinn, whom Dickinson had brought in as senior vice president for finance, resigned last week "for personal reasons," according to Rosenbloom. Quinn has been replaced by John Laws, who was promoted from vice president and controller.

Richard Hastings, a securities analyst with Merrill Lynch & Co., said Dataproducts' actions have come in response to "a serious slump" in the computer industry and mistaken decisions by past management to gear up for continued growth.

Hastings said that Dickinson was the author of a plan that decentralized Dataproducts' operations, setting up separate managements, facilities and accounting systems for each product line. That gave the company "a tremendous amount of overhead at a time when growth was slowing down," he said.

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