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IBM starts cutting US jobs in $1-bn restructuring plan

Bloomberg/New York 27 Feb 14 | 11:49 PM

International Business Machines Corp began dismissing US workers on Thursday, part of a $1 billion restructuring to help the company meet profit goals as it adapts to shifts in the technology industry.

Workers in Burlington, Vermont, and Rochester, Minnesota, were fired on Thursday, according to Alliance@IBM, an employee group. The Armonk, a New York-based company, had 431,212 employees at the end of 2013, down 0.7 per cent from a year earlier - its first decline in a decade.

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IBM is aiming for $20 a share in adjusted earnings by 2015, up from $11.67 in 2010 - a target made more difficult by seven straight quarters of falling revenue. To get there, Chief Executive Officer Ginni Rometty has fired and furloughed workers, sold assets, cut IBM's tax rate and bought back shares.

The company has already begun eliminating positions this year in Europe, Asia and South America, according to Alliance@IBM.

Worldwide, this year's job cuts could lead to the elimination of at least 13,000 employees, Toni Sacconaghi, an analyst at Sanford C Bernstein & Co, said in a February 3 report.

"IBM continues to rebalance its workforce to meet the changing requirements of its clients and to pioneer new, high- value segments of the information technology sector," the firm said in a statement on Thursday. At any given time, IBM has more than 3,000 job openings in its growth units, including its cloud business and nanotechnology, the company said.

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