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Sonic Innovations lays off 5% of its workers as part of restructuring

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Sonic Innovations Inc., a Salt Lake-based producer of digital hearing aids, announced Wednesday that it has laid off 5 percent of its work force, or about 30 people, as part of a recently completed restructuring.

Mike Halloran, Sonic's vice president and corporate controller, said Wednesday that all of the layoffs came in the company's Canadian and European operations.

Sonic employs about 600 people, with about 25 percent of them in the Salt Lake area.

The company said in a press release that the restructuring was designed "to rationalize manufacturing and distribution functions in Europe and Canada following nine acquisitions over the past two years."

Sonic said the moves have eliminated "manufacturing redundancies" and will result in a restructuring charge of about $1 million, or 5 cents per share, in the third quarter.

"While restructuring decisions are always painful, we are pleased that the integration of our acquisitions is complete," said Andy Raguskus, Sonic president and chief executive officer, in a prepared statement. "We expect to see the benefits of the cost reductions relating to the restructuring beginning in the fourth quarter 2003."

Halloran said the goal of the restructuring was to "improve profitability going forward." And while the company would be interested in further acquisitions if a good candidate came along, he said, Sonic is not currently targeting any additional purchases.

"I think we have our distribution network complete as of today," Halloran said.

"Now we're clearly focused on improving profitability and growing the sales line."

Sonic also announced Wednesday that it has hired Wayne Goebel as vice president of U.S. sales.

Goebel previously served as vice president of worldwide sales for Corneal Science Corp. after spending 25 years in sales and marketing leadership positions in medical device companies, including Bausch & Lomb.

Goebel replaces Michael Monahan, who resigned to pursue other interests, according to Sonic.

Halloran said Goebel should "continue to add on to the good things that Mike Monahan has done."

In July, Sonic reported a 26 percent increase in sales for its second quarter compared with the same period of 2002. Net sales for the quarter were $21.9 million, with net income of $164,000, or 1 cent per share.

Sonic Innovations stock fell 24 cents, or 3.8 percent, on Wednesday to close at $6.16 per share on Nasdaq. In the past year, the stock price has ranged from $1.94 to $6.41.

E-mail: gkratz@desnews.com