Md.-based Ciena is cutting 200 jobs

The Baltimore Sun

Ciena Corp. said it is cutting 9 percent of its work force, or 200 people, as it tries to curb costs to deal with a slowdown in sales of its network equipment to phone companies.

The reductions will occur "across every organization and geography," Ciena Chief Executive Gary Smith said in a conference call with analysts. The company, which has 2,238 employees worldwide and 650 in Baltimore, said a small number of jobs would be cut at the Linthicum headquarters. It did not give specifics.

A large number of the reductions will probably come from the closing of a research and development facility in Acton, Mass., over the next four months.

Ciena announced the cuts as it reported a net loss of $24.8 million, or 27 cents per share, for the quarter that ended Jan. 31. That compared with a profit of $28.8 million, or 28 cents per share, during the same period a year ago.

Revenue was $167.4 million, a 26 percent drop from a year ago.

Ciena would not give earnings guidance for the second quarter because of the uncertain market.

The company said it hopes to reduce its quarterly operating expenses by $4.4 million, to $80 million over the next few quarters. Ciena said that could allow it to break even as long as revenue and gross margins remain around first-quarter levels.

Smith said he thinks the economic recovery will take quarters and not years. He said phone companies eventually will have to buy more network equipment as Internet usage increases.

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