Applied Materials profit drops 45%

times wire reports

Applied Materials Inc., the largest maker of chip-production machinery, reported a 45% drop in fiscal fourth-quarter profit and said it would cut 1,800 jobs, or 12% of its workforce, as the financial crisis deepens an industrywide slump in orders.

Orders at the Santa Clara, Calif., company may fall more than 30% in the current period from last quarter, Chief Financial Officer George Davis said.

Net income fell to $231.1 million, or 17 cents a share, from $421.8 million, or 30 cents, a year earlier. Sales in the period ended Oct. 26 dropped 14% to $2.04 billion, the company said.