Cohu Eliminates 60 Jobs

2/6/09Follow @bvbigelow

San Diego’s Cohu (NASDAQ: COHU), which makes test-handling equipment for semiconductor manufacturers, disclosed some “headcount reductions,” without being more specific, when it reported its fourth-quarter financial results on Thursday.

This afternoon, I tracked down Cohu chief financial officer Jeffrey Jones, who said the company laid off 60 employees, which consisted of roughly 40 workers in San Diego and 20 elsewhere. The cuts represent about 6 percent of Cohu’s workforce. Check our updated San Diego layoff tracker here.

Cohu says it has taken other steps to reduce costs and preserve cash, including pay cuts, suspending the company’s matching 401(k) plan, reduced work hours, and periods of mandatory unpaid time off. The company’s global workforce now totals about 900 employees, which includes some 500 at Cohu’s San Diego headquarters.

Cohu, which paid $80 million in December to acquire a German rival named Rasco, said the company’s financial results reflected the industry’s weak business conditions.

During the company’s conference call with analysts yesterday, Cohu CEO James Donahue said, “Cohu has been severely impacted by the global economic crisis.” Donahue added that many customers of Cohu’s backend semiconductor equipment appear to have stopped spending for new equipment and there are signs customers also are reducing their purchases of spare test handlers and related-but-undisclosed “nonessential” equipment.

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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