Intel said Tuesday that it will lay off 1,320 workers at its Caribbean operations, the latest in a series of job cutbacks at the computer chip maker in the past 18 months.
The layoffs will occur between now and the end of the year. Intel will shut down its Barbados plant, which employs 900 in the assembly of semiconductor components.
The remaining 420 layoffs will be at its Puerto Rico manufacturing operations. However, Intel will retain 450 workers at its systems manufacturing division there.
The action will result in a charge of $35 million to $45 million in the company's third quarter, which ends Sept. 27. So far this year the company, which is based in Santa Clara, Calif., has sustained losses of $42.5 million.
Intel Chairman Gordon E. Moore said: "We have utilized a variety of short-term programs over the last 18 months to attempt to bring demand and worldwide capacity into balance. . . . It is clear, however, that there is no alternative to this longer-term adjustment."
Intel is the largest employer on Barbados, and Moore's statement added: "We particularly regret the impact this will have on our employees, whose performance and commitment to Intel have been superb."
The action will bring Intel's worldwide employment to less than 19,000 from a peak of 25,400 at the end of 1984, just as a recession settled heavily on semiconductor makers.
An Intel spokeswoman called the latest action a further step in the slimming-down process that Intel began during that slump. Last year, it shut down two plants that did wafer fabrication--a process that precedes work done at the Caribbean facilities.
Industry analysts, too, see the move as continuing a restructuring process that has turned the technology-oriented company into a manufacturing powerhouse. Intel has doubled assembly productivity in the past year and expects to double it again in another two years.
A recently signed trade pact between the United States and Japan is expected to bring higher prices for some chips, which will aid Intel and other domestic semiconductor makers. But Intel still has excess manufacturing capacity and needs improved demand as well to push it back into profitability.
In active over-the-counter trading Tuesday, Intel's stock dropped $1.37 1/2 to $16.62 1/2.