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19 March 2007


Bookham cut-backs will shrink workforce by 123 staff, mainly at Caswell

Optical telecom component maker Bookham Inc of San Jose, CA, USA has now completed its review of staff cuts, following February’s announcement of further cost-cutting measures.

Bookham’s total worldwide staff level of about 2100 will be cut by 123. These include:

  • 77 (out of about 200 existing staff) from the 3-inch indium phosphide fabrication plant in Caswell, UK by the end of this year (most by mid-April).
  • 10 from the Paignton facillity in the UK (now an R&D center focusing on optical subsystems).
  • 36 (out of 50) from the chip development facility in Kanata, near Ottawa, Canada.

The latter two facilities were acquired on buying Nortel Networks’s optical components business in 2002 for $112m.

The Kanata plant employed 300 staff on its acquisition from Nortel, before losing 200 after the transfer of its InP fab line to Caswell. Now the facility is being closed (remaining staff will work from home). Its existing R&D functions are being redistributed to both Paignton and Bookham’s plant in Shenzhen, China.

The Paignton facility employed about 1000 staff on its acquisition from Nortel as a test & assembly plant, before the transfer of these manufacturing lines to Bookham’s plant in Shenzhen, China (with 600 job losses announced in 2004, followed by 150 in December 2005 and a further 100 or so in 2006), leaving a couple of hundred at the R&D center.

The Caswell plant used to employ over 500 staff as part of Marconi's Optical Components business before Bookham acquired it in 2002 for $24m and subsequently closed its 6-inch GaAs wafer fab line in 2004. Most of the 130 or so remaining will be involved in running the 3-inch InP wafer fab and in administration.

Together with other measures, the cost cutting announced in February is designed to save an extra $6–7m per quarter by this September, with the goal of reaching break-even this year.

See related item:

Insufficient non-Nortel sales force extra $6-7m cost cutting at Bookham