St. Louis-based company Belden to cut 20 percent of workforce

Thursday, December 4, 2008 | 11:19 a.m. CST

ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis-based electronics components maker Belden plans a massive restructuring that will result in the loss of 1,800 jobs, or 20 percent of its total work force.

The restructuring announced late Wednesday is aimed at streamlining the company's manufacturing, sales and administrative functions worldwide. Some manufacturing operations will be consolidated. It wasn't clear where those consolidations would occur. Calls to a company spokeswoman were not returned.

The restructuring is expected to save $30 million next year and $50 million annually starting in 2011, according to a news release from Belden.

"As we reported in October, we have seen softening of our major markets globally, and we expect that economic conditions will remain challenging for some time," Chief Executive Officer John Stroup said in a statement. "Therefore it is necessary for us to further adjust our cost structure so that we can continue to be competitive under such conditions. We regret the hardship these actions will impose on our associates."

Belden reduced its 2008 outlook in October after a decline in third-quarter earnings.

Belden, which makes cables, connectors and other products for signal transmission, expects one-time charges of between $55 million and $65 million pretax, or 85 cents to $1 per share, as a result of the restructuring plan. The charges include expected severance and other cash costs of $35 million to $40 million.

The company expects up to $40 million of the charges to be incurred during the current quarter.

Belden shares were at $18.28 at market opening Thursday. The share price reached as high as $52.64 late last year before dipping as low as $11 late last month.

Stroup said the company continues to have a bright future.

"With Belden's liquidity, strong balance sheet and history of generating strong free cash flow, we are well-positioned to capture market share and successfully execute other strategic initiatives even in a challenging market," he said.

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