3Com confirms worst

10 Sep 2003

Telecoms equipment giant 3Com confirmed this morning that it is to close its Blanchardstown production facility. Some 640 employees, the majority of them production workers, will lose their jobs.

The plant will be wound down between the end of November 2003 and February 2004, according to a spokesman for the company, who said that a full support programme was being put in place to help find new jobs for those made redundant.

A small group of employees – 35 – is to be retained in R&D and sales and marketing, he added.

The news comes at a time when eBay is set to expand its operations, which coincidentally are also based in Blanchardstown. Some reports say the online auction pioneer may be about to recruit an additional 1,000 staff. While the 3Com spokesman welcomed any new job opportunities in the area, he said it depended on what roles would be available and was unsure whether former production workers would be suitable.

The closure of the 3Com plant is part of a major corporate restructuring programme, which will result in the loss of 1,000 jobs worldwide. Over the next six months the company will outsource all of its direct manufacturing, distribution and related activities for its enterprise networking products to two contract manufacturers – Flextronics, Singapore and Jabil Circuit, Florida. Flextronics will also assume responsibility for 3Com’s global distribution from its regional hubs.

“Today’s announcement is a continuation of 3Com’s corporate strategy to offer a broad range of innovative products and solutions, competitively priced to meet the needs of the enterprise customer,” said Bruce Claflin, president and CEO, 3Com Corporation. “These actions further enhance 3Com’s ability to bring competitive and comprehensive networking solutions to the enterprise market.”

3Com also announced it has established a Taiwan Design Center (TDC) that will be responsible for the continued design and manufacture of low-end products and will be staffed by 3Com employees and Original Design Manufacturer partner employees. The company expects the TDC to be operational in its fiscal Q2, ending in November 2003, and fully staffed by the end of its fiscal Q4, ending in May 2004.

By Brian Skelly