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Latest update : 2009-01-08

US computer giant Dell announced the closing of its main plant in Ireland with the loss of 1,900 jobs, many of which will be moved to Poland. The world's number two PC maker cut more than 8,000 jobs last year.

REUTERS - Dell, the world's No. 2 PC maker, will cut about 1,900 of 3,000 jobs at its manufacturing plant in Limerick in the west of Ireland and move many of them to Poland.

Dell, which ranks itself as Ireland's largest exporter, largest technology company and second-largest company overall, said on Thursday it would move production of computer systems for customers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa to its Polish plant and third-party manufacturing partners.

The move, part of a $3 billion cost-reduction plan announced last year, is yet another blow for the Irish economy and comes just three days after Waterford Wedgwood, one of Ireland's premier luxury brands, called in receivers.

Dell is a major employer in Limerick, a relatively impoverished area, and thousands of jobs in businesses supporting the U.S. giant could also be at risk.

Ireland, which based much of its 'Celtic Tiger' boom in the 1990s on multinational technology companies, was the first euro zone country to slide into recession last year.
Economists expect unemployment to exceed 10 percent by the end of the year from 6.3 percent in the third quarter of 2008.

Dell cut more than 8,000 jobs last year and struggled to regain market share it lost to larger rival Hewlett-Packard Co. It also said last year it would outsource more manufacturing to cut costs.

The Round Rock, Texas-based company has lagged behind competitors in coming up with a streamlined system to build portable PCs. Contract manufacturers can generally produce PCs for less money because their entire operations are focused on finding production efficiencies, as opposed to large firms like Dell, which must balance marketing and other considerations.

Date created : 2009-01-08