Poor mobile sales force Laird to cut 40% of jobs

The world's biggest maker of electromagnetic shields for mobile phones, Laird, is to cut 40% of its global workforce to cope with what it expects to be a double-digit decline in mobile handset sales next year, says the Financial Times.

The British firm, which supplies Nokia, Motorola, Sony Ericsson and LG, said it would cut manufacturing capacity 14%, resulting in 5,000 job losses by the end of the quarter.

Laird said it would make further cuts in the first part of 2009.

The group has moved jobs and production overseas in recent years, and fewer than 1,000 of its 14,600 workforce are based in the UK. The majority are employed in the US, eastern Europe, Mexico, India and China.

Facilities in Hungary and the US will close. Some production will remain in the US, but more production will be moved to Mexico and China.

Mobile phone sales will shrink next year at their fastest pace ever as consumers cut spending, a Reuters poll showed, with analysts increasingly concerned about unsold phones piling up in stores.

On average, the poll of 36 analysts shows global market volumes shrinking 6.6% next year and 5.7% in the fourth quarter -- traditionally the strongest period for the industry due to holiday sales.

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