Logitech to cut 5 percent of workers

Impact on Camas facility that employs nearly 100 unclear

By Cami Joner, Columbian retail & real estate reporter

Published:

 

Logitech International, parent company of Camas-based Logitech Music Business Group, plans to eliminate 5 percent of its workforce as part of an ongoing attempt to recover from faltering sales.

A spokeswoman for the Swiss electronics company, with U.S. headquarters in Newark, Calif., declined to say on Tuesday where the 140 jobs would be cut. The company employs approximately 2,800 people at 100 sites throughout the world, said Nancy Morrison, vice president of corporate communications for Logitech.

"The company is basically in a turn-around situation," she said of Logitech, which has a new president and chief executive officer, Bracken Darrell, at the helm.

The company's largest facilities are in California's Silicon Valley, Switzerland, China and Camas, where Logitech employs just a under 100 people. Its 40,000-square-foot Camas office at the Camas Meadows Corporate Center opened in 2010 after the firm relocated from the Columbia Tech Center in east Vancouver.

At least one former Logitech employee confirmed being laid off from the Camas facility. However, the site is significant for its focus on music components for smartphones and iPads, considered one of the company's biggest growth sectors, Morrison said.

"The people in Camas work on those music products" used with tablets and smartphones that have Bluetooth capabilities, she said.

Business sectors that have not performed well for Logitech are the company's PC-related products, such as keyboards, mice, headsets and webcams.

Logitech's net income was $71 million in 2012, down 44 percent from $128 million in 2011, according to the publicly traded company's quarterly and annual reports. Sales for fiscal 2012, which ended last March, were $2.32 billion. Logitech is traded on the Nasdaq composite index under the symbol LOGI.

Morrison called the PC component market Logitech's core business.

"We're still doing those, but we're also moving into an area where we're concentrating on tablets and smartphones," she said.

The news of Logitech's layoffs didn't surprise Rob Bernardi, president of Vancouver-based Kokusai Semiconductor Equipment Corp., a subsidiary of Hitachi Ltd.

"It's not surprising that people associated with the PC business have seen a bigger slowdown than other sectors of the tech business," he said.

Morrison said Logitech's audio products are on the cutting edge of engineering and design and that Apple stores carry many of the products, such as wireless speakers, headphones and earphones that work with smartphones and tablets.