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4th O.C. Technology Firm to Cut Back : Computer Consoles Lays Off 30 Employees

Times Staff Writer

Computer Consoles Inc. said Wednesday that it has laid off 30 employees at its Irvine facility, making it the fourth computer company this year to announce work force reductions in Orange County.

Computer Consoles, a Massachusetts minicomputer maker that was acquired in January by a British firm, said the 30 Orange County employees were given pink slips on Tuesday.

Most of those employees were research and development workers, said M.L. Jones, Computer Consoles vice president of marketing. A few marketing employees also lost their jobs, he said.

Jones said about 320 employees remain at the Irvine operation.

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The positions were eliminated because Computer Consoles is combining research efforts with its new British parent company, STC, Jones said.

STC, a London-based computer and communications equipment supplier with revenue of $3.6 billion, acquired Computer Consoles for $168.4 million in January.

The other three Orange County technology companies to announce layoffs this year include AST Research Inc. in Irvine, which eliminated 70 positions in January. Distributed Logic Corp. of Anaheim cut its work force by 30 employees in February, citing losses in 1988. And Western Digital Corp. of Irvine announced that it would lay off 200 staff employees and 90 contract workers by the end of March to increase efficiency.

On Wednesday, Computer Consoles officials held a plantwide meeting to discuss the company’s future, which Jones described as “very positive.”

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“When you were a small company and then become part of a $4-billion enterprise, it strengthens your position in the marketplace,” he said.

Design engineer William Alford, one of the terminated employees, said he sensed impending cutbacks 2 months ago when research he was doing on an advanced computer chip stalled.

“When you are just kind of lying idle, you kind of know,” he said.

Alford said that terminated employees received a minimum of 5 weeks of severance pay. Some received more, depending on length of employment. In addition, terminated employees can participate in a job placement assistance program.

Computer Consoles recorded earnings of $9.7 million on revenue of $126.8 million through the first three quarters of 1988, said spokeswoman Anne Prine. In 1987, it reported net income of $11.3 million on revenue of $148 million.


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