Peugeot to Cut 6,000 Jobs

Company says it needs to boost productivity by 20%, which would require the elimination of 10% of the work force

PSA Peugeot Citroen said on Nov. 12 it needed to cut 6,000 jobs in France between now and 2012 in order to boost productivity.

Peugeot chairman Philippe Varin, outlining 2010-2012 performance plan for the group, said the reductions would come through the non-replacement of workers leaving the company voluntarily. "Our assessment today is that we do not need a supplemental restructuring plan," he said.

He added that Peugeot would have to boost productivity, or worker output per hour, by 20%, which would require the elimination of 10% of the work force, or 6,000 jobs.

Peugeot launched a voluntay departure scheme last January for non-production staff, which was later enlarged to incorporate other workers. By the end of October the number of such departures stood at 4,800.

Varin said that job cuts this year for Peugeot worldwide, including its auto parts unit Faurecia, come to around 13,000.

He predicted that the slide in the European auto market would be less than 10% next year after what company finance director Frederic Saint-Geours said could be a contraction of up to 7% in 2009.

Varin described the Asian market as "our main challenge," adding that Asia would be the growth driver for the global auto market in the next few years. Peugeot plans to unveil its Citroen C5 in China early next year, manufactured at a plant in Wuhan.

The company raised its earnings forecast for 2009 on what it said was a revival in the auto market. "Due to recent improvement in the automobile market and the ongoing success of the new Peugeot and Citroen models, the group's production and sales performance is significantly stronger than forecast," it said. The company forecast output in the fourth quarter would be 30% higher than the same period last year and 17% higher than in the third quarter.

As a result the group said recurring operating income for the second half was expected to break even and full-year cash flow set to be positive. The auto giant registered a loss of 962 million euros (US$1.44 billion) in the first six months of the year.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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