AMD hones axe

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AMD may be about to lay off as much as 20 percent of its workforce as the company steels itself for fourth quarter charge in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

AMD chairman Jerry Sanders told the San Francisco Chronicle that between 15 and 20 percent of the company's 13,000 staff may have to go.

"The realities are that it is going to be some number in the range of 10 to 20 percent in order for us to get the cost structure down where it needs to be so we can break even at [US]$775 million [in revenue]," Sanders told the paper

Meanwhile, AMD president Hector Ruiz told analysts that the company will book a charge of “several hundred million dollars” in the fourth quarter as part of its cost cutting program. Ruiz would not provide more detail on the extent of the charge.

Nevertheless, Ruiz said AMD is expecting fourth quarter sales to be up 20 percent on the third quarter, mainly due to increased sales of flash memory.

AMD chief financial officer Robert Rivet said the company plans to cut capital spending to about US$650 million in 2003 from a budget of between US$750 and US$800 million in 2002.

He said the company is expecting to become EBITDA positive in the first quarter and reduce expenses by more than US$350 million in the new fiscal year.

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