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Grass Valley lays off 70 workers

Final numbers on Grass Valley Group's layoffs are 70 jobs eliminated, representing 10 percent of its worldwide staff.

As reported by B&C online, lagging equipment sales and dismal forecasts for a recovery before next summer prompted the layoffs. Job reductions include personnel at GVG's U.S. facilities in Grass Valley, Calif. and Beaverton, Ore.

GVG President Tim Thorsteinson said the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center was a major factor in his decision to cut costs. His company usually does half of its entire year's business in the months of September and October. That business is now lost, he said.

"Around the first week of every September, we're just getting into the real [selling] activity," Thorsteinson explained. "When those planes hit on Sept. 11, everything stopped. There were no parts coming in or out, and no
one had time to talk about new business. This entire industry was adversely affected when the World Trade Center collapsed."

In a company meeting in Beaverton last Tuesday, Thorsteinson told employees (in person and via conference call) that in addition to the layoffs, all discretionary spending has been cut and external contract design
work will be quickly phased out; saving about 10 percent in operating costs.

R&D engineers working on current product development will not be affected, but all future projects have been set aside. Starting with their November paycheck, full salaries will be restored for remaining rank-and-file workers, Thorsteinson said, but management will continue to take the 10 percent pay cut that all employees have endured since the summer.

Company revenue for their first quarter of fiscal 2002, ending on September 30, was 12 percent below projections, Thorsteinson said, although he would not discuss details. Every division of GVG will be affected by the cuts except in the Pacific Rim countries like China, Korea, Taiwan and Australia, where the company just finished a record sales quarter (June to September) of nearly $10 million.

Thorsteinson said GVG shipped $20 million worth of broadcast gear worldwide in the month of September.
- Michael Grotticelli