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In a further sign of the downturn in the American economy, the giant telecommunications equipment maker, Lucent Technologies, wants ten thousand of its US-based staff to take early retirement. More details from our business reporter Mark Gregory.
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New Technology 8th June 2001

Telecom giant in trouble

NEWS 1  
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Even more than its rivals, Lucent has been hit by a dramatic collapse in orders for telecommunications equipment. At the peak of the global technology boom Lucent had a stock market value of 285 billion dollars, making it one of the world's most valuable companies. Since then its shares have fallen by over 90 percent, and there's doubt about its long term survival. Lucent needs to find several billion dollars just to meet debt repayments due in the next few months. Lucent, based in New Jersey, is the direct descendent of the company set up by the inventor of the telephone, Alexander Bell.


hit by - affected very badly by something

collapse in orders - a significant reduction in the numbers of orders for a product

At the peak - at the top (of something)

boom - if there is a boom in something then there is a fast increase or development in it

just to - the phrase just to is used to strongly emphasis how bad something is

direct descendent - (in this case it means that) the origins of Lucent go straight back to the creator of the first telephone

NEWS 2  
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It owns the famous Bell Laboratories which have spawned many technological breakthroughs. Last week Lucent abandoned merger talks with Alcatel, when it became clear that the French telecoms equipment maker was actually intent on a takeover. In the latest move, Lucent is offering generous terms to 10,000 mainly middle mangers to take voluntary retirement. The company expects a high take up, but won't say if there will be forced redundancies if not enough people apply. The cuts come in addition to ten thousand other job losses announced in January. Lucent currently employs 104,000 staff. Analysts expect the company to announce more job cuts and asset sales in coming months as it struggles to repay debts.


spawned - produced or created

breakthroughs - a breakthrough is an important development or achievement

takeover - a takeover is when one company buys another company

voluntary retirement - people who choose voluntary retirement, agree to give up their job and stop working

take up - if you take up something then you accept it

asset sales -
the selling off, of parts of a company


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