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Seagate to cut 3,000 jobs in restructuring as demand slows

By Ian King | Bloomberg

Seagate Technology Holdings Plc, the biggest maker of computer hard drives, said it’s cutting about 3,000 jobs in a restructuring plan aimed at reducing costs amid slowing demand and said big buyers of technology are cutting orders on concerns the economy is worsening.

“Global economic uncertainties and broad-based customer inventory corrections worsened in the latter stages of the September quarter, and these dynamics are reflected in both near-term industry demand and Seagate’s financial performance,” Chief Executive Officer Dave Mosley said in a statement. “We have taken quick and decisive actions to respond to current market conditions and enhance long-term profitability, including adjusting our production output and annual capital expenditure plans.”

Separately, Seagate said it has been accused by the US Commerce Department of violating US export rules by selling hard drives to a sanctioned entity. Reuters reported that the entity was Huawei Technologies Co. The company denied it violated the rules.

The U.S. company’s push back may prove a test of tightening restrictions against the provision of technology to China by the Biden administration, which has cited national security concerns in actions its taken against companies such as Huawei. Most of the actions to date have focused on semiconductor technology.

“Seagate’s position that it did not engage in prohibited conduct as alleged by the Bureau of Industry and Security, because, among other reasons, Seagate’s HDDs are not subject to the Export Administration Regulations,” the company said in a regulatory filing.

The company also released fiscal first-quarter financial results that missed analysts’ expectations. Sales in the period ended Sept. 30 were $2.04 billion, missing analysts’ average estimate for $2.12 billion, the Fremont, California-based company said in the statement early Wednesday. That compares with an average analyst estimate of $2.2 billion. Adjusted earnings per share were 48 cents, far below estimates for 75 cents. The shares fell more than 9% in early trading in New York and have lost almost half their value this year.

Like many of its peers in the computer component industry, Seagate has already warned investors that demand is drying up after several quarter of rapid growth. Companies and government departments are slowing their investment in computer networks, causing a buildup in unused parts. Covid lockdowns alongside economic weakness in China weighed on demand, while inflation dampened spending, the company said in a presentation.

Seagate’s announcement is the latest from a tech company to focus on staffing expenses to cope with an economic slowdown and a squeeze on spending from high inflation. Intel Corp. is planning thousands of job cuts, while Meta Platforms Inc. plans to reorganize teams and reduce headcount for the first time ever. Inc. has frozen corporate hiring in its retail business, and Alphabet Inc.’s Google is making job cuts to Area 120, its in-house incubator for new projects.

Mosley said Seagate’s job cuts, which amount to about 7.5% of total employees, would lead to annualized savings of about $110 million once they were fully realized, in the fiscal third quarter of 2023.

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Source: Orange County Register

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