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Intel Rules Out Job Cuts in Middle East Region

Filed on April 3, 2009

DUBAI - Intel Corporation on Wednesday ruled out any move to cut jobs in the Middle East and Africa, in spite of an expected slowdown in its business, and said it would press ahead with a regional investment programme.


The investment plan is in line with a commitment by the world’s largest chipmaker to invest in local companies and encourage entrepreneurship to help provide communities with useful technology platforms, said Ferhad Patel, Intel’s Regional Markets Development Director for the Middle East, Turkey and Africa.

Patel said the global recession has had little impact on Intel’s operations in the region.

“While companies in the region are looking at cost savings, they are also keen to remain competitive by adapting to new technologies. So when the recession is over, they hope to have an advantage over their competitors,” he said.

Intel Capital, the US company’s global investment arm, announced in February that it would invest in three UAE-based technology companies: Conservus International FZ-LLC, Pulse Technologies FZ-LLC, and Vertex Animation Studio FZ-LLC. The investments, the amount of which was not disclosed, coincided with a visit to the Gulf region by Intel President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Otellini.

Patel said the Intel Capital Middle East and Turkey Fund had committed $50 million for the region. “We have allocated part of it and will be looking for new opportunities for investment in more technology companies within the region.”

Intel Capital invests in companies developing hardware, software, local content, and services throughout the Middle East and Turkey. Since 1991, Intel Capital has invested more than $7.5 billion in approximately 1,000 companies in 45 countries. In 2008, it invested about $1.59 billion in 169 projects, with about 62 per cent of funds invested outside of North America.

Under the programme, Intel will continue to support local entrepreneurship through investments in education, digital accessibility and specialised technical competencies, Patel said. He spoke at the launch on Wednesday of the Intel Xeo Processor 5500 series, billed as the chip-maker’s “most important server product” in almost 15 years.

For 2008, Intel posted annual revenues of $37.6 billion, down two per cent year-over-year, and annual net income of $5.3 billion, for an earnings per share of 92 cents. For the fourth quarter of last year, the company earned a net income of $234 million, for an earnings per share of 4 cents.

Patel said he did not expect Intel to cut any jobs in the Middle East or Africa. “Apart from job losses due to the closure of some plants globally, we haven’t slashed any jobs,” he said.

According to Intel spokesman Tom Beermann, steps the company took to restructure in 2006 enabled it to weather the current tough economic environment.

However, Craig Berger, an analyst in the US with FBR Capital Markets, said that with 2009 revenues likely to fall by almost 15 per cent from 2008 levels, Intel would need to reduce its factory headcount by 15 per cent.

issacjohn@khaleejtimes.com





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