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May 11, 2020

Waters Corp. in Milford cuts 3% of workforce

Photo/Grant Welker Waters Corp.'s Milford headquarters

In its first quarter earnings report, Milford laboratory equipment manufacturer Waters Corp. said it has cut 3% of its workforce, incurring $18 million in severance-related costs, with another $5 million expected through the remainder of the year.

Last year, the company reported about 7,200 employees worldwide, according to WBJ's Research Department.

Sales at Waters dropped nearly $49 million, or 10%, in the first quarter, with operating income falling nearly in half.

Operating income plunged by $53 million, or 44%, in the three months ending March 28.

Waters said it will suspend stock buybacks of up to $4 billion its board of directors approved in January 2019, citing uncertain business conditions caused by the outbreak. The company has already repurchased $914 million since then.

The first-quarter sales drop was due primarily to the coronavirus pandemic, Waters said, with sales in China dropping by 48%. Outside China, where the pandemic began late last year, sales declined 1%. Second-quarter sales should show a more significant effect from the outbreak, the company said.

Instrument system sales fell 20%, and sales to pharmaceutical customers dropped 7%.

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