Autodesk to Fire Up to 18% of Staff, Shut Offices

From Bloomberg News

Autodesk Inc., whose design software helped create special effects in the movie "Spider-Man," said Tuesday that it would fire as much as 18% of its staff and close offices to meet higher profitability goals.

Eliminating 550 to 650 jobs and shuttering the offices will cost about $37 million in the next four quarters, Autodesk said. The San Rafael, Calif.-based company, which has 3,537 employees, also reaffirmed its sales forecast for the year beginning in February.

Autodesk aims to lift profit, excluding some costs, as a share of sales to a middle 20% range from 12% last quarter, Chief Financial Officer Al Castino said in an interview. The company, whose programs are used to design bridges, buildings and video games, raised its profit forecast last week for its fiscal fourth quarter ending Jan. 31 as clients installing infrastructure such as phone lines buy more software.

"We're assuming modest growth in the economy next year," Castino said. "But even if revenue growth were higher than we're expecting, we would still be looking to eliminate some of these positions in order to get rid of the inefficiencies that exist in our business."

Autodesk shares rose 29 cents to $23.20 on Nasdaq. They have gained 60% this year.

The job cuts and costs will occur this quarter and in the next three, with most of them taking place later next year, Castino said.

Offices will close in the U.S., Europe and Asia, he said, declining to specify where.

Autodesk said it expected net income of 24 cents to 30 cents a share this quarter, 4 cents to 10 cents in its first quarter and 68 cents to 88 cents next year.

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