Jobs to go in Agilent's Ipswich closure

AGILENT Technologies in Ipswich is facing the final death-knell, it was announced today.The international company has decided to close its operations in the town by the end of July.

AGILENT Technologies in Ipswich is facing the final death-knell, it was announced today.

The international company has decided to close its operations in the town by the end of July.

This means the remaining 35 jobs at its Whitehouse Road site are to go.

James Wood, communications manager for Agilent Technologies, said: "Following a review of its practices around the world, Agilent Technologies has decided to close its operation located at Ipswich.

"There are around 35 staff at the Ipswich site who will be affected by this move, subject to consultation.

"Existing projects being undertaken at Ipswich will be transferred to our operations elsewhere in the world, with a small number of staff being retained at Ipswich to transfer work over the summer months,

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"We expect to conclude our operations at Ipswich by the end of July 2005."

Today's announcement completes the decline of Agilent in Ipswich.

In its heydey the company had 1,100 workers in the town, illustrating how buoyant the high-tech industry was.

Of those 850 were full-time research and development experts.

But in 2001 the industry went into freefall in North America and the problems spread throughout the world.

It was not long before redundancies followed.

In April 2001 plans to recruit 500 additional people by the end of that year were shelved. Construction of the company's new building at the Whitehouse Industrial Estate in Ipswich were mothballed even though the building was well under construction.

Four months later following a drastic slump in sales the American-based company announced a total of 4,000 job cuts worldwide. This included around 100 redundancies in Ipswich.

In November 2001 more bad news was to follow with a further 165 job losses announced in the town's workforce, leaving only 350 employed at the site.

Numbers at the company continued to fall until June 2003, when production was stopped in Ipswich leading to the loss of 200 further jobs.

This left only 50 people employed in Ipswich.

Agilent's base in Ipswich evolved in the late 1990s, out of a merger between BT and American group Du Pont.

Agilent Technologies is the world's biggest test and measurement company. It provides mobile phone test technology and life science and chemical analysis equipment.

In Ipswich, it has been working on fibre optic technologies.

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