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Intel silent on Egypt numbers as employees speak out

Chipmaker will not confirm job cut figures; stresses relocation efforts

Karim El Fateh, Intel Egypt's country manager.
Karim El Fateh, Intel Egypt's country manager.

Intel employees in Egypt have taken to social media sites to comment on the closure of the company’s R&D and engineering plants in the country, with two claiming that between 120 and 150 people have been affected.

However, Intel would not confirm the number of affected employees, choosing instead to highlight a relocation programme that it hopes will mitigate the effects of the shutdown.

Karim El Fateh, Intel Egypt country manager told ITP.net: “We don’t have exact numbers at the moment; we are working with our employees now to identify who is able to travel… We are allowing employees some time to decide on whether they would like to relocate. The employees that will be relocating will be moving by August so that they are settled with their families before school start dates.”

Intel acquired Egyptian communication software company SySDSoft in March 2011 and hired 120 of the company’s locally based talent, many of whom will now be jobless. Ahmed El Arabawy, SySDSoft’s co-founder, expressed his disappointment on his Facebook page: “Very Sad News. The end of a dream. Intel Shuts Down IMC (previously SySDSoft). That was one day my little baby. Now it is gone.”

“Our key priority is to fully support our employees during this transition,” said El Fateh. “New employment opportunities in Munich and Bangalore will be opened, as these are our focus sites for co-location and building teams with critical mass. For employees with critical skills we will seek to assist their retention. Impacted employees where we are not able to offer a new role will be offered a separation package in the context of a mutual separation.”

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Intel also continued to stress that the decision was not connected to political instability in the country. “To be absolutely clear our decisions are being made to improve the company and those decisions have nothing to do with political situation in Egypt or anywhere else,” the company said in a separate statement.

A week ago Intel also made job cuts in Costa Rica. Reuters reported that 1,500 people would lose their jobs as Intel shut down its assembly and test operations. The closure of the site, which is a significant contributor to Costa Rica's exports, falls within a larger plan announced by the chipmaker earlier this year to cut spending as it attempts to grow beyond PCs into the mobile market.

Reuters also reported on Intel’s financial report, released yesterday. Intel chief financial officer Stacy Smith said the chipmaker expected PC shipments to continue their decline in 2014.

"But there are pretty clear signs of stabilisation," Smith said. "You have an ageing install base of PCs and we're bringing exciting products to the market place and that's leading to the pockets of strength we're seeing in the PC market."

In its report, Intel said revenue from its PC client group in the first quarter was $7.9bn, down 1% from the same period a year before.