Another slew of job cuts has been announced around Europe.
Dutch electronics giant Philips is to lay off thousands as the global slump pushes it into the red. Last year’s fourth quarter loss was 1.5 billion euros, leading to a loss of 186 million euros for the whole year. Philips plans to speed up its restructuring to make savings of 400 million euros this year. Chief Executive Gerard Kleisterlee said it is fighting falling orders: “In consumer electronics the situation is mixed. The more expensive items, like LCD TVs, are not selling well but with some of the smaller items, like home appliances, we’re seeing only a small decline in sales.” Over the next 12 months, 6,000 people will have to leave Philips. At the same time Dutch financial group ING said it is cutting 7,000 jobs, while Anglo-Dutch steel group Corus announced around 3,500 layoffs. ING’s losses of 3.3 billion euros in the fourth quarter will mean a full year loss of 400 million euros. It will plans to take advantage of 22 billion euros of Dutch government loan guarantees and the chief executive Michel Tilmant is to step down. The layoffs at Anglo-Dutch steel group Corus will come mostly in Britain. Industry observer Roger Manser of Steel Business Briefing said the cut backs are due to the recent downturn in steel demand: “I think that Corus has been looking at restructuring, but there is no evidence that it was looking at permanent layoffs in the past. We think that those were no doubt brought on by the sudden and massive decline in demand in the steel industry in the last few months.” Corus – Europe’s second biggest steelmaker, which is owned by India’s Tata Steel – said it is going to extend production cuts as orders have fallen by more than a third.