Consumer electronics giant Philips is to close about one-third of its factories worldwide in the next four years.
Philips? president Cornelius Boonstra told the 'Financial Times' that the company had ?built too big a production capacity for requirements", forcing it to reduce the number of its sites to between 160 and 170 by 2002 to create a more efficient company.
The Dutch company has been on a rationalisation track for some time. 25 plants have already been shut this year with another 18 scheduled to close before the end of 1998.
Philips confirmed the 'FT'?s report but said it was too early to say which areas would be worst hit and how many jobs would be lost.
?There are no specific plans, it is all dependent on market developments,? said Roger Woods, a spokesman for Philips. Woods said it is not likely to be a case of simply shutting the sites down, as some could be sold as going concerns or to management buyouts.
Boonstra said the company was open to acquisitions in areas such as semiconductors, lighting and medical products and is eager to expand in the US. It is also on the look out to form global partnerships with other electronics manufacturers.
Last week the partnership between Philips and Lucent to make telephone handsets collapsed when the US company said it was pulling out of the consumer phone market(see Newswire 22 October).
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