Gateway to cut more jobs

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Gateway expects to reduce its employee roster by about another 1,000 this year, but the action is not related to its acquisition of eMachines, it says.

Rod Sherwood, Gateway's CFO, told attendees at Morgan Stanley's Semiconductor and Systems Conference late on Monday that the company expects to continue reducing its employee count and is aiming to end up with a roster somewhere in the mid-5,000s. It finished 2003 with about 7,400 employees. Right now, the Poway, Calif.-based company has about 6,500 employees, a representative said on Tuesday. Going by Sherwood's figures, this implies that Gateway is planning to shed about 1,000 more employees this year.

Despite the timing of the news--Gateway is expected to close its acquisition of eMachines by as soon as Monday--the changes cited by Sherwood reflect restructuring efforts that stem from measures Gateway took last September to streamline its manufacturing, service and support and distribution organizations, the company representative said. Part of that action included closing down its PC manufacturing plant in Hampton, Va., and outsourcing its manufacturing of consumer PCs to a third party. Gateway has not yet said how the eMachines buy, announced Jan. 30, will affect its operations, other than in very broad terms. It said in its 2003 annual report, for example, that it expects eMachines to help it tap several new sales channels, including international markets.

But many analysts believe that once the eMachines acquisition closes, Gateway will abandon its namesake stores in favor of relationships with third-party retailers, which it will acquire along with eMachines. Analysts also expect Gateway to continue selling Gateway-brand products, including PCs and consumer electronics, direct to its customers as well.

News source: C|net

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