Danish healthcare products manufacturer Coloplast A/S is laying off 173 employees, most of them at plants in Denmark, as part of the major restructuring program announced last year.
The reorganization involves a gradual switch of production from Western Europe to Hungary and China.
Overall, the company will cut its workforce by 300, chiefly in Denmark.
Following negotiations in January with trade union representatives in Denmark, the parties agreed Coloplast would lay off a total of 142 there.
The reduced workforce is necessary, partly as a result of the switch of production to lower-cost countries, but also because uncertainty due to the global financial crisis has cut the number of workers willing to take voluntary redundancy, according to Humlebaek-based Coloplast.
In December, Coloplast set out to improve earnings in its wound and skin care division, eliminating 63 jobs, including 32 positions that already were vacant.
Coloplast reported that its sales were squeezed in the first quarter of the current fiscal year, mainly as a result of fluctuating currency exchange rates, particularly with Britain's pound. The firm saw its sales rise 4 percent compared to the same period a year ago to about 2.2 billion Danish kroner ($398 million). It reported an operating profit of 334 million kroner ($61.5 million).
The company, which also manufactures drainage urology and continence-care products, plans to cut the number of plants it runs in Denmark from six to three by 2012.
Coloplast has plants in Tatabanya and Nyírbator, Hungary. In China, the firm operates a facility in Zhuhai. This year, it plans to open a $40 million regional headquarters and research and development center in Minneapolis.