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E&S announces more layoffs

S.L. firm says loss for quarter worse than expected

Evans & Sutherland Computer Corp. announced another round of layoffs Friday, along with a warning that its first quarter loss may be greater than previously reported.

The Salt Lake-based company, which specializes in computer hardware and software for simulation, training, engineering and other applications, will lay off about 50 workers worldwide, said spokeswoman Joan Mitchell. About 40 of those jobs are in Salt Lake City.

After the reduction, Evans & Sutherland will employ about 450 workers worldwide.

Friday's announcement is the latest in a series of layoffs. The company in November 2002 announced it would cut 140 jobs from its worldwide operations. About 25 jobs were eliminated in September 2001, following on the heels of another layoff — this one affecting 60 workers — in June 2001.

The company does not anticipate further layoffs in the near future, Mitchell said.

In a statement released Friday, Evans & Sutherland chief executive officer James R. Oyler maintained inventory and staff reductions are necessary to better position the company going forward.

"Rapid acceptance of new products is also reducing demand for some of our older product lines," Oyler said. "While further analysis of the quarter is still needed, we believe we may need to reduce inventory and other assets related to certain older product lines. . . . We are also reducing total employment to the level appropriate for the product mix going forward, and will report a restructuring charge for this action."

The company had predicted a loss for the first quarter, and Friday's announcement likely will increase the reported loss, Oyler said.

Evans & Sutherland has not been profitable since 1999. Last month, the company reported a 15.6 percent decrease in sales and a net loss of $11.7 million for 2002.

Still, Mitchell said, Evans & Sutherland has cause for optimism.

"It is restructuring that is necessary to get us better positioned for what we see as the business mix going forward," she said. "We've booked quite a few new orders for our new products, and we came out with new products in all three of our business areas: commercial simulation, military simulation and digital theater. All three of those products have done well and been very well received."