ALMOST 140 jobs could go after bosses at a major Basingstoke firm revealed it is closing its town base.
Telecoms company ST Ericsson, which has offices in the Maplewood building on the Chineham Park business complex, has said as many as 139 people could be made redundant when it closes its centre.
Globally, the company has said it will cut 500 posts – blaming a drop in demand for “legacy” products inherited from its predecessor when the company formed in 2009.
ST Ericsson is a joint venture between Swedish company Ericsson and Swiss-based STMicroelectronics. It has two other UK offices, in Bristol and Daventry, which will not be affected by the cutbacks.
Last week, the company unveiled a $120million cost-cutting programme. Staff restructuring costs are expected to reach $55m, the majority of which will be incurred during the second half of 2011.
ST Ericsson spokesman Roland Sladek said it is “unfortunate” that the Chineham centre has to close. Staff who are not made redundant will have to relocate. No date has yet been set for the closure of the Basingstoke site.
Mr Sladek told The Gazette: “It is important we remain competitive. We have seen a substantial downturn in our legacy products, which has impacted on our company, and that is why we are taking these measures.”
Employees based at the site, mainly engineers, work in the research and development arm of the company. Mr Sladek said: “We undertook a review of the different projects that people are working on, and based a decision on that. It was a difficult decision to take.”
Ericsson, which holds a 50 per cent stake in ST Ericsson - has had a presence in Basingstoke for 20 years.
Basingstoke MP Maria Miller said that while the decision to axe the jobs is regrettable, she does not believe it reflects adversely on Basingstoke as a business destination.
She told The Gazette: “Basingstoke is an important employment centre and any announcement that results in the loss of jobs is a cause for concern. It is important to note, however, that Basingstoke has become a driving force in the new local enterprise partnership (LEP) which is centred around the M3.
“As such, it is set to continue to be a strong centre for employment in the future. It will be a clear objective for the LEP to be looking at how these jobs (at ST Ericsson) can be replaced.”