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Semiconductor-equipment maker

DuPont Photomasks


said Wednesday it would post a wider-than-expected quarterly loss, and set plans to cut 170 jobs, or 10% of its workforce, as it attempts to pare costs and consolidate its business.

The Round Rock, Texas-based company said it will take an after-tax restructuring charge of $12 million to $14 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2003 to account for the layoffs. The company said a majority of the cuts would come from its European operations, located in France and Germany. The remaining jobs will be eliminated from its flagship facility in Texas.

DuPont said it would consolidate the production arms of the French and German plants into one manufacturing facility in Corbeil, France. However, the two facilities will remain functional, serving as regional centers for technical and sales support. The company anticipates completing the consolidation within the next 10 months.

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"We believe that consolidation of trailing-edge photomask production in Europe is the most prudent course of action to better align capacity and capabilities with regional market demand and customer needs," the company said in a press release.

DuPont also said that it would incur an additional charge for severance payments to those European employees who were laid off. The amount of the charge has yet to be determined as the company has not reached a settlement with the relevant work councils.

In light of the restructuring program, the company said it expects to lose 45 cents a share to 55 cents a share in the second quarter on revenue of $79 million to $82 million, assuming a 10% tax rate. Analysts, on average, were projecting a loss of 45 cents on revenue of $77.2 million, according to Thomson Financial/First Call.

DuPont Photomasks makes quartz and glass plates containing microscopic images of integrated circuits that are used as masters to optically transfer the image of circuit patterns onto semiconductor wafers during the fabrication process.

The shares were down $1.90, or 7.1%, to $24.97 in afternoon trading on