Filtronic prepares to axe jobs after chief falls on his sword

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Mobile phone technology firm Filtronic is preparing to axe jobs and has parted company with its chief executive following further production delays.

The Leeds-based firm said it is too early say how many jobs will go, but warned that it needs to take “significant” costs out of the business.

The firm employs 20 people at its wireless arm in Leeds, 80 in broadband in County Durham and 55 overseas.

Following the immediate departure of CEO Alan Needle, he has been replaced by chief financial officer Rob Smith.

Asked about the job losses, Mr Smith said: “We are working through the process. We can’t say how many will go. We have to go through a consultation process with staff.”

Asked whether the job losses would be major, he added: “We need to take a significant amount of cost out of the business.”

Mr Smith said Mr Needle had decided to step down.

“We are now up to our fourth profits warning this year. Yes, I think it’s fair to say he fell on his sword,” he said.

The group’s shares closed down 19 per cent at 14.25p.

Filtronic said it is now clear that wireless revenues will not build up as quickly as expected over the coming months.

It admitted that it is unlikely that any of the antenna projects in development will produce significant revenue before the year end on May 31.

As a consequence annual wireless revenues will come in at around £10m, below analysts’ forecasts of £13m.

Mr Smith said that none of the programmes have been cancelled.

“The good news is that the programmes are starting now. We’re starting to see the build up, it’s just been a lot slower than it should have been,” he said.

Analysts at Panmure Gordon said: “While this latest news will further damage Filtronic’s credibility as a public company, we take some encouragement from the fact that decisive action has finally been taken to stem the tide of bad news.”

In January, the group reported a £4.5m half year pre-tax loss after results from its wireless business fell “substantially” short of expectations.

Filtronic is working on new mobile phone mast antennae that are far lighter and smaller than predecessors. Mr Smith said it is working on a number of interesting projects with Nokia.