iSOFT to lay off 800 staff

Follows resignation of CEO, Gary Cohen

Australian e-health giant iSOFT (ASX:ISF) will lay off 800 staff, constituting 17 percent of its total workforce, over the next financial year in a bid to halt its sliding financial fortunes.

On Wednesday the company’s chief executive Gary Cohen stepped down in the face of disastrous annual results over the past year that have seen revenues shrink. At the time iSOFT said it was planning to reduce staff numbers this year.

But sources said the company had already gone through two rounds of layoffs over the past year — one in November last year, and one in July.

A company spokesperson confirmed those rounds had already seen 290 iSOFT staff lose their jobs, and a further 800 more would go over the next year — more than 17 percent of the company’s total global workforce of around 4,500.

A cursory search of business social networking site LinkedIn revealed a plethora of iSOFT staff who had recently left the company to join other firms such as Telstra and Microsoft, although it was not immediately clear which ones had been laid off and which had resigned.

iSOFT’s problems can be traced back to several issues.

Currency translation problems associated with the value of the Australian dollar (73 percent of iSOFT’s revenues over the past year were generated in pounds and Euro) affected the company’s Australian reporting. But a decline in revenue has been suffered from the company’s massive contract with the UK National Health Service, and its growth projections have also been reduced in most markets.

However, it’s not all bad news for the company — this week it maintained its core business remained healthy. And the Australian Financial Review reported yesterday that analyst firm BBY had cited Oracle, IBM and Microsoft as potential acquirers of the company.

iSOFT’s share price has suffered due to its problems. Currently it is at 13c — 1c above its 52-week low. It has ranged as high as 92c in that period.

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