TOKYO, June 30 Japan's Canon Inc (7751.T) said it
would cut about 700 jobs at its chip equipment operations,
underscoring a bleak outlook for the sector as the global
economic crisis hits demand and forces chip makers to curb
The world's third-largest maker of chip steppers behind ASML
(ASML.AS) and Nikon Corp (7731.T) says most workers to be
affected are in Japan and that the workers will be transferred to
other sections within Canon.
Steppers are multi-million dollar machines used to etch
circuitry onto semiconductors and LCD panels.
Canon spokesman Makoto Sugimoto declined to say how many
staff it has in its chip stepper operations but the Nikkei
business daily reported that the 700 jobs were roughly equivalent
to 30 percent.
Canon does not expect its optical products division, which
offers microchip and LCD steppers, to turn profitable until 2012.
The company, which is also the world's No.1 digital camera
maker and competes with Xerox Corp (XRX.N) and Ricoh Co Ltd
(7752.T) in copiers and printers, expects the unit to post an
operating loss of 27.4 billion yen ($285 million) in 2009.
Shares in Canon were flat at 3,160 yen, underperforming the
Nikkei average .N225, which gained 2 percent.
(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)