September 13, 2013 in Business

Itron cutting 750 jobs

Number of cuts in Liberty Lake not expected to be significant
By The Spokesman-Review
 

Liberty Lake-based Itron Inc. announced Thursday it will lay off 9 percent of its workforce, or roughly 750 people.

That group includes both regular workers and contractors.

The company is looking to increase profits and run more efficiently, said Sharelynn Moore, vice president of marketing and public affairs.

She described the focus as creating a “stronger and more profitable Itron.” The effort comes fully from within the company, not from any concerns voiced by investors, Moore said.

Itron develops and provides a range of products and services for water and energy utilities worldwide.

A filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission estimates the layoffs, plus some office closings and consolidation, will cost the company between $30 million and $35 million.

The estimated savings is $30 million per year, according to the filing.

Itron’s publicly traded stock has fallen 11 percent this year. CEO Philip Mezey, during an August earnings report, called the company’s earnings “far below acceptable.” The layoffs follow the completion of five smart-meter contracts in North America.

Moore said the cuts are across all company departments and operations, including manufacturing. “The impact will be felt in every facility,” she said.

Moore declined to say how many cuts would occur at the Liberty Lake location, which employs about 500 of the company’s 8,000 employees. She said the number of layoffs there would not be “significant.”

The general plan includes consolidation of closures of some manufacturing locations outside North America.

In North America, one Itron customer support office, with fewer than 20 employees, will close.

“The rest of our North American locations are seeing targeted and limited headcount reductions,” she said.

The reductions have already started, but the impact at some locations will depend on coordinating cuts with labor unions representing affected employees.

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