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Bausch to Slash 700 More Jobs to Cut Costs

Vision care: The firm makes its fourth staff reduction in three years and plans to take a $28-million charge.

January 05, 2002|From Reuters

NEW YORK — Bausch & Lomb Inc., struggling to right itself after repeatedly missing earnings expectations, said Friday that it will cut 700 more jobs in its fourth work-force reduction in three years to trim costs.

The Rochester, N.Y.-based maker of Boston contact lenses and ReNu lens-care solutions said it plans to take $28 million in restructuring charges for the job cuts, which represent 7% of its more than 10,000 employees.

Last month, shortly after he rejoined the company from General Motors Corp., Chairman and Chief Executive Ronald Zarrella warned that more job cuts were coming in order to lower costs.

Analysts said similar moves are ahead for Bausch & Lomb, which has posted disappointing financial results since July 2000.

Bausch & Lomb said 250 of the 700 new job cuts will result from the closure of a Madrid factory during the first quarter and a Sarasota, Fla., plant in September.

Most of the remaining 450 positions will be eliminated in the first quarter, the company said. "The expected cuts will be broad-based and will impact all regions and functional units," it said.

The most recent job cuts follow 800 cuts a year ago. Before that, Bausch & Lomb cut 450 jobs in October 2000 and 850 in December 1999.

Citing the latest round of job cuts, Standard & Poor's said it may cut the ratings on Bausch & Lomb to junk status. The warning covers the company's BBB-minus long-term corporate credit, bank loan, and senior unsecured debt ratings and its A-3 short-term credit and commercial paper ratings.

Bausch & Lomb said the restructuring will reduce fourth-quarter earnings by 6 cents a share. Analysts on average expect profit of 42 cents for the quarter, according to Thomson Financial/First Call.

Bausch & Lomb shares ended the day up $1.84, or 4.8%, at $39.51 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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