The diverse German conglomerate tries to make some cuts to weather poor auto sales, bad economy

Early last year, Siemens went through an internal crisis in which it saw its offices raided.  The investigation culminated in a board member being arrested on bribery charges.  Law enforcement officials alleged that Siemens offered illegal payoffs in hopes of winning oversees contracts.  Since that time, Siemens has worked to repair its reputation.

However, times have been tough for the diverse conglomerate thanks in part to the fact that its heavily vested in the automotive industry.  With the economy and fuel prices denting auto sales, Siemens has felt the effects echoing down the supply chain.

Now Siemens, which employs 400,000 people worldwide, has announced plans to reduce its workforce by cutting 16,750 employees, or rough a 4 percent reduction.  Only 5,250 of the jobs will be cut in Germany, where 136,000 of its workforce is employed.  This leaves it virtually certain that many of the remaining cuts will come from Siemens’ American locations.

Siemens, which is headquartered in Munich, states that 12,600 of the jobs cut are administrative jobs.  Peter Loescher, president and chief executive, stated, "Against the backdrop of a slowing economy, we have to become more efficient."

The company issued a profits warning, due to struggles faced in the rocky economy.  Its stock has been battered, down 35 percent this year.  The cuts will help Siemens reduce its operating costs by 1.2B € ($1.9B USD) by 2010.

Siemens hopes to use early retirement as a kinder alternative to forced dismissals whenever possible. 

For a company as diverse as Siemens, it seems likely to be able to weather the storm.  However, its struggles will certainly have ramifications here in America and are a sign of the troubling economic times.  It is not alone either -- auto manufacturers, including GM, have reported woeful sales and are searching for solutions.

Siemens is heavily vested in mass transit, alternative energy, telecommunications, medical technology, and computers (via its brand Fujitsu).

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

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