Apple quits circuit board business, lays off 150 in Ireland

Apple Computer has exited the printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturing market for good, with the closure of its last existing PCB plant in Cork, Ireland, a company official confirmed today. Apple said last week that it would close the PCB manufacturing business it operates in Ireland to focus more on final assembly of machines and build-to-order operations. The closure will result in about 150 layoffs in the engineering division of Apple's Irish PCB business.

Apple Computer has exited the printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturing market for good, with the closure of its last existing PCB plant in Cork, Ireland, a company official confirmed today.

Apple said last week that it would close the PCB manufacturing business it operates in Ireland to focus more on final assembly of machines and build-to-order operations, said Liam Donohoe, a spokesman for the Apple plant in Cork. Apple has already closed its PCB operations in its Sacramento, California, and in Singapore manufacturing plants. The Cork closure follows Apple's plans to completely outsource the production of PCBs, he said.

The closure will result in about 150 layoffs in the engineering division of Apple's Irish PCB business, Donohoe said. An additional 200 workers, mostly on the assembly line, will choose a compensation package to leave the company, he said. It is unclear how many temporary employees may lose their jobs, he said.

Meanwhile, Apple has said it will begin hiring new staff and possibly retraining some PCB staff in the manufacture of the new Apple iMac machine, which the company has decided to produce in the Cork plant. Apple won't say how many jobs this may mean, however.

Apple has already found a buyer for its PCB equipment: Natsteel Electronics of Singapore. The company plans to buy all of Apple's PCB-related manufacturing equipment and export it to its plants in the Asia-Pacific region, Donohoe said. Apple would not confirm the purchase price of the equipment.

The Cork plant is Apple's main manufacturing center for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The California plant serves North America, while the Singapore plant serves Asia and the Pacific.

Apple, in Cupertino, California, can be reached on the Web at http://www.apple.com/.

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