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Computer Maker Plans Layoffs In Massachusetts

April 11, 1985

BILLERICA, Mass. (AP) _ Honeywell Inc., citing an industrywide slump in sales of small- and medium- size computer systems, says it plans to lay off 120 people and intermittently close its computer plant here.

″We are taking these difficult actions because, like many of our competitors, we have seen a softening in the small computer systems market since the fourth quarter of 1984,″ said Eugene Manno, a vice president for Honeywell’s Small Computer and Systems Group.

″Under these market conditions, we cannot maintain the present levels of operating expenses,″ he said Wednesday.

Most of the 4,100 people who work for Honeywell’s small-computer division are employed in Billerica, and the unit will close operations for the following one-week periods: April 29-May 3, May 20-24, Aug. 26-30 and Dec. 23-27, Honeywell said.

During those weeks, Honeywell said workers ″can take vacation time, no pay or a combination of these two.″

Honeywell’s announcement was the latest in a string of disclosures from computer makers located along Massachusetts’ Route 128 that cost-cutting efforts would be needed because of sluggish sales.

Computervision Corp., a maker of computer-aided design and manufacturing systems, or CAD-CAM, said earlier this week it dismissed 14 percent of its 6,800 workers and cut compensation for top executives because it expects to post a first-quarter operating loss of as much as $15.7 million.

Wang Laboratories Inc. has said it expects first-quarter profit to fall 30 percent to 40 percent from a year earlier, and that it plans to close all of its U.S. factories for two weeks in July.

Minicomputer makers Digital Equipment Corp. and Data General Corp. also have warned of softening sales and downward pressure on their earnings.

Honeywell, based in Minneapolis, also produces large-scale data processors for business and government, and it has interests in control systems and aerospace and defense products.

The company’s overall earnings last year totaled $239 million, or $5.10 a share, on revenue of $6.07 billion.

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