Medtronic to Cut Up to 2,000 Jobs, MN No. Unknown

The medical device giant will look to cut across the entire company during its fiscal fourth quarter, but a spokesman said it's too early to say how many of the 8,000 Minnesota employees will be affected.

Medtronic, Inc., on Tuesday announced plans to reduce its global work force by 4 to 5 percent, or 1,500 to 2,000 positions during the fiscal fourth quarter.

The announcement was made in conjunction with the release of the Fridley-based company's financial results for the third quarter, which ended January 28.

Third-quarter revenue totaled $3.96 billion, up 3 percent from the same period of the prior fiscal year. Net earnings, meanwhile, totaled $924 million, or 86 cents per share-up 11 percent from fiscal 2010. Wall Street analysts had predicted earnings of 84 cents per share on revenue of $3.97 billion.

Despite the mostly positive results, Medtronic spokesman Brian Henry told Twin Cities Business on Tuesday morning that the medical-device giant will look to cut “across the entire company-all levels, all geographies, all businesses,” and said that it's too early to say how many of the company's 8,000 Minnesota employees will be affected.

Before the layoffs occur during the fiscal fourth quarter, which ends in April, Medtronic will “offer voluntary separation to some employees as appropriate,” Henry said. He declined to reveal how many employees will receive the offer or how many are expected to accept it.

Medtronic said that the job cuts will enable it “to align its cost structure to current market conditions and continue to position Medtronic for long-term sustainable growth.” The restructuring effort through which the layoffs will occur also includes other cost-saving measures, tighter expense management, and “voluntary programs to minimize layoffs.”

Medtronic attributes its strong third-quarter performance to several newly launched products, which it says are capturing the interest of physicians and patients. Those products include its Solera spinal system, its Arctic Front Cryoballoon procedure for atrial fibrillation, its Endurant stent graft, and its Reno MRI-compatible pacemaker.

Medtronic said that it expects fiscal 2011 earnings per share to be in the range of $3.38 to $3.40-in line with, but on the lower end of, the company's previously announced forecast of $3.38 to $3.44 per share.

Medtronic is the world's largest medical device company and Minnesota's seventh-largest public company based on revenue, which totaled $15.8 billion in its most recently completed fiscal year.