While data storage giant EMC is insisting that it will not embark on another round of job cuts, some analysts maintain that a further tenth of its workforce is already earmarked to go.
"We are hearing about cuts of around 10 per cent," said Steve Duplessie, founder and senior analyst at research firm Enterprise Storage Group.
This level of cuts would mean almost 2,000 more redundancies at the company, on top of the 4,000 announced in October.
Duplessie claimed that the latest round of layoffs began a few days ago and is likely to take place across the company. He added that they are only likely to be announced after EMC closes its first quarter at the end of the month.
EMC spokesman Michael Gallant declined to comment on the reports, but admitted that the company was still aiming for a headcount of 19,000 by mid-2002.
EMC set that goal in October last year when it announced the 4,000 cuts. Around 1,250 of these - mostly in Europe, Latin America and Asia - have yet to be completed.
According to Gallant, the company's performance over the past two quarters has done nothing to persuade EMC to revise the number of redundancies.
Nevertheless, analysts tracking the company believe that further cuts are unavoidable.
Salomon Smith Barney's Clinton Vaughan said he expects cuts of around 10 per cent, while Harry Blount, of Lehman Brothers in New York, expected cuts to reach 15 per cent if the company is to move back into profitability.
EMC has set a goal of a return to profitability by the second half of the year, but analysts believe it is struggling to meet that target due to the sluggish state of the storage market as well as the company's ongoing transition to concentrate on software revenues over its traditional hardware business.
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