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General Electric Closes Hungarian Plant

Lays off 500 workers

General Electric said on Oct. 30 that it would shut down a lighting factory in Hungary and lay off 500 employees in face of fierce global competition in the sector.

GE, which employs 15,000 people in Hungary -- 10,000 of them in lighting production -- said it would shut down a factory in Gyor, 62 miles west of Budapest and cut output at seven out of its nine sites.

The head of GE's lighting operations, Istvan Salekovics, said the cuts were "necessary to safeguard our leading position in lighting production." As much as 98% of light bulbs made by GE in Hungary were destined for export.

The Hungarian economy is heavily export orientated and the government is expecting it to contract by as much as 1% next year as the country feels the full force of the global downturn.

According to government estimate, some 70,000 people may lose their jobs as a result of the global financial crisis.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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