Boston Scientific to cut 1,100 to 1,500 jobs; impact in Minn. undisclosed

  • Article by: JAMES WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 24, 2013 - 8:41 AM

The company said it would reduce its global workforce by 1,000 to 1,500 but did not disclose how many Minnesota jobs are at risk.

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Researchers work in a clean room at the Boston Scientific Cardiovascular research and development center in Maple Grove, Minn.

Photo: Evan Ramstad, Bloomberg News

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Boston Scientific Corp. is planning to cut 1,100 to 1,500 jobs through 2015 as part of a global restructuring of its operations, the company said late Wednesday in regulatory filings.

Despite the pending staff reductions, the company’s moves will not significantly reduce its total workforce of 24,000, a spokesman said. Boston Scientific, which has about 5,000 employees in Minnesota, is basically moving jobs around, said Peter Lucht, the company’s director of external communications.

“During restructuring, our overall employee numbers will remain at similar levels,” Lucht said. “But markets are shifting. The way we react to them has to shift. In some cases, assets are redeployed.”

For example, Lucht said, some manufacturing positions now based at plants in California will be transferred to Boston Scientific’s Maple Grove plant, as well as one in Costa Rica. Some jobs are moving to Maple Grove “to leverage expertise already in place there,” he said.

Lucht would not say whether Minnesota, or the United States, will see a net loss or gain of jobs as positions are transferred from some facilities to others overseas. “I am not able to get into detail regarding specific impact at specific locations,” Lucht said.

In January, Boston Scientific announced it was cutting 900 to 1,000 jobs from its global workforce in an effort to manage the effects of the United States’ new medical device tax while investing in new products and geographical markets. Those cuts brought the total number of reductions in an earlier restructuring program to 2,400 jobs, or about 10 percent of the company’s global workforce.

At that time, Natick, Mass.-based Boston Scientific did not provide details about how many of those cuts were happening at its Minnesota facilities — in Maple Grove, Arden Hills and Plymouth.

But the reductions add to a wave of cuts by Minnesota’s largest medical technology companies. In May, Medtronic Inc. announced it was eliminating 2,000 jobs worldwide, including 500 in Minnesota. Medtronic officials said at the time they were “growing in some areas and making changes in others.” A year earlier, Medtronic cut 1,000 jobs.

In late 2012, St. Jude Medical Inc., based in Little Canada, announced it was shedding 800 jobs.

“Every time we see one of these big reductions, we think that’s got to be it,” said Thomas Gunderson, a senior analyst with Piper Jaffray & Co. “Yet, it has been going on for five or six years.”

What is happening, Gunderson said, is that companies continue to trim their “overgrowth” from the past decade, as U.S. markets remain relatively flat, while shifting jobs to meet faster growth in Asia.

“There is a race to establish position in China by the big players,” he said. “And we are going to continue to see it. They are going to go where the growth is.”

Boston Scientific said that the reductions are part of a 2014 restructuring program designed to save $150 million to $200 million in gross annual pretax operating expenses by the end of 2015. The restructuring is expected to result in pre-tax charges of about $175 million to $225 million. In its filing, Boston Scientific said it expects to take a restructuring charge of about $30 million in the current quarter.

The company will report quarterly results on Thursday morning, and executives are scheduled to hold a conference call with investors and analysts.

 

James Walsh • 612-673-7428

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