Orckit declines to comment on expectation of more dismissals

Company cited reorganization as reason for firing 70 workers in January
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Orckit Communications

(Nasdaq:ORCT) is reportedly facing another wave of lay-offs, after firing 70 people in January. The company refuses to comment.

Orckit today employs about 300 workers. At the time, Orckit said it had trimmed staff from all divisions, and that no specific division absorbed most of the lay-offs. It explained that it is reorganizing, a program begun in July 2000, and said it isn't planning any more dismissals in the near future.

Today Orckit reported that it dismissed 100 workers over the last six months as it restructures. The company says it can't make predictions, and declined to comment on predictions of a large wave of lay-offs in coming days.

Orckit develops DSL digital modems, facilitating fast communication on existing copper wire infrastructure. The company sells fast-Internet access products to telcos and Internet service providers. "Alternative" communications companies are a big part of its business.

During 2000, Orckit concluded that it cannot compete with giants such as

Alcatel

(NYSE:ALA) and others. The pressures big telcos such as

Deutsche Telekom

(NYSE:DT) imposed on suppliers to cut modem prices hurt profits and led to steep losses.

Orckit decided to stop contending in new tenders to provide modems to telcos, while trying to minimize losses from already-signed contracts. It did void some signed accords, though, with Deutsche Telekom and Israeli phone company

Bezeq

.

In the last quarter of 2000, Orckit announced the establishment of a subsidiary, Corrigent, which specializes last-mile transmission.

Corrigent is not Orckit's first attempt at creating value for its shareholders. In June 2000 it split off its chip division

Tioga Technologies

(Nasdaq:TIGA).