CHIP FAB EQUIPMENT VENDOR Applied Materials has announced it will shed between six and nine percent of its workforce due to low demand.
Applied Materials, which supplies machines for making silicon wafers to chipmakers such as Intel, said it will implement a voluntary retirement programme. As part of its early retirement programme it expects to see somewhere between 900 and 1,300 employees leave the firm, amounting to a six to nine percent cut in its workforce.
Mike Splinter, chairman and CEO of Applied Materials said, "Achieving our strategic objectives requires us to deploy our talent in the best way possible. We are taking action to realign our worldwide organization and workforce while investing in key product development capabilities that will enhance our ability to grow."
Japanese chip vendor Renesas had to implement a similar retirement plan that will see up to 5,000 employees head for the door. Like Applied Materials, Renesas has been hit by lower demand, along with increased price competition from Chinese chip vendors.
Applied Materials expects to spend somewhere between $180m and $230m in severance and termination benefits, but added that its leaner workforce will result in $140m to $190m in savings that will be used "to fund key growth initiatives". Applied Materials said it expects to complete its restructuring plan by its third fiscal quarter of 2013.