Nortel Networks

(NT)

has begun a round of layoffs, which published reports say could result in at least 5,200 people, or 6% of its workers around the world, losing their jobs in the next three to four months.

Later reports indicated that the company will hire as many people as it lets go this year. According to a Toronto newspaper, the cuts have started with about 750 employees in Ottawa and another 200 in Toronto, who received notice Tuesday. A company representative couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

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The Brampton, Ontario, company, a supplier of fiber-optic network equipment, reportedly described the terminations as a move to balance its recent hires in high-growth areas, such as its Internet and fiber-optic network businesses.

Shares of Nortel lately rose 88 cents, or 2.7%, to $32.81 in trading on the

New York Stock Exchange

.