REFILE-Straumann to cut more jobs, restructure as sales sag

Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:55pm EDT

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(Corrects date to April 29)

* 200 jobs to go, mainly in Basel, by year end

* Q1 sales down 6 pct to 175 mln Sfr

* New CEO Gadola restructures management team

ZURICH, April 29 (Reuters) - Straumann, the world's largest maker of dental implants, is cutting another 8 percent of its workforce and revamping management in the face of sluggish markets.

The Swiss company and local rival Nobel Biocare are suffering from weak demand in their main market, Europe, as cash-strapped customers defer non-essential dental treatment.

Bringing forward a results announcement that had been due on Tuesday morning, Straumann said revenue fell 6 percent in the first quarter to 175 million Swiss francs ($186.81 million).

"While revenue developments were stable in North America and positive in China and Latin America, the large European and Japanese markets suffered further from the weak economy and competition from lower cost players," it said in a statement.

Nobel Biocare said last week net profit fell 1.2 percent in the first quarter as weak markets in Europe and Japan weighed anew on sales of its high-end treatments.

Straumann already announced in October it would cut roughly 6 percent of its global workforce.

But new Chief Executive Marco Gadola said the first three months of the year had shown that staffing levels were still not sustainable as they were based on "rather bullish market growth expectations".

Straumann announced plans to cut another 200 jobs, about 110 of them in the firm's headquarters in Basel, bringing its workforce to about 2,230 by the end of the year and resulting in first-half charges of 18-20 million francs.

Gadola also announced a new structure to his executive team, including creating new roles of head of customer solutions and marketing, to be taken by Frank Hemm, and head of strategic projects and alliances, to be filled by Sandro Matter.

Straumann said it hoped to improve profit in 2013, excluding charges for the cuts, even if the market stays sluggish. It also confirmed its medium-term outlook for a return to solid growth and a significantly higher operating margin. ($1 = 0.9368 Swiss francs) (Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by David Cowell)

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