Raytheon jobs bombshell for 4,400 as defence slims

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NEW YORK - Raytheon, the Pentagon defence contractor best known for the Patriot missile, yesterday became the latest big US company to shed employees, announcing plans to eliminate 4,400 jobs over the next two years, writes Larry Black.

The company said it would take a one-off first-quarter charge of dollars 162m to cover the cost of the redundancies, about 7 per cent of the workforce. Despite the sweeping restructuring, Raytheon forecast record profits for the quarter.

It said the restructuring cost should not affect its balance sheet. Based on current projections, Raytheon will have a 'very good year with solid growth', the company said. A year ago, Raytheon earned dollars 157m, or dollars 1.15 a share.

About two-thirds of the lay-offs will take place in its military businesses, hit by 'significant reductions in defence budgets'. It plans to consolidate missile manufacturing in Andover, Massachusetts, closing four other New England plants. Its Raytheon Marine division will close a facility at Harlow, consolidating European operations in Portsmouth.