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Grass Valley to Lose 625 Jobs

PARIS: Technicolor is cutting one-fourth of work force at its Grass Valley division, which it put up for sale a year ago. The reduction would comprise 625 jobs worldwide, Technicolor said. The unit remains for sale and no longer fits within the parent corporation’s strategic plan.

“The worldwide market for professional broadcast equipment, where Grass Valley does business, has been in sharp decline--about 30 percent since the end of 2008, mainly as a result of declining broadcaster budgets and advertising expenses,” Technicolor said in a release announcing the restructuring. “Like all companies in the sector, Grass Valley faces serious economic difficulties, as evidenced by a 31 percent decline in revenues between 2008 and 2009, and losses totaling 87 million euros [US$17 million] in 2009.”

The French conglomerate, now focused on content-creation services, said the restructuring would involve all Grass Valley sites in Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, France and the United States. Meetings at the various sites commenced at the start of the week.

“The meetings were held in order to present a reorganization plan needed to enable Grass Valley to return to the break-even point in the current economic context,” Technicolor’s release said. “The plan was based upon Grass Valley’s reorganization into three distinct activities--broadcast, head-ends and transmission. It would include a 25 percent reduction in Grass Valley headcount by eliminating 625 jobs worldwide.”

Technicolor said nothing further about the state of the sale of Grass Valley. The parent company itself just completed a debt restructuring under the protection of the French government, having dropped the name, “Thomson.” Final approval was reached in January. -- Deborah D. McAdams

(Image by ScribeSevenThree/JDub)

More on the story:
January 27, 2010: “Thomson Becomes Technicolor
Shareholders approved several resolutions, including one proffered last month to reduce the company’s debt of €2.8 billion (US$3.9 billion) by 45 percent. The plan also includes a capital injection of €348 million (US$491 million), a €1.3 billion (US$1.8 billion) debt-for-equity conversion, and a bond buy-back provision.
December 22, 2009: “Creditors Clear Thomson for Restructure
Grass Valley parent corporation Thomson SA won the approval of the third and final group of creditors for its bankruptcy plan.

November 30, 2009:“Thomson Prepares for Restructuring
Grass Valley parent corporation Thomson SA said it would announce its debt restructuring plan some time today.

April 29, 2009: “Thomson Scores on Breach Waiver
Thomson said its creditors have granted it a waiver, giving the company until June 16 to restructure its 2.9 billion euro ($3.8 billion) debt due April 30.

March 10, 2009: “Thomson Drops on Loss
Thomson today posted a net loss of 1.9 billion euros ($2.4 billion U.S.) for 2008, compared to a loss of 23 million euros for the previous year ($33.8 million).

February 25, 2009: “Grass Valley Exec: We’ll Be Around
Grass Valley will take care of customers through its divestiture from Thomson, a company executive said this week.

February 2, 2009: “Thomson Cuts Grass
Thomson (NYSE:TMS) is putting Grass Valley up for sale. The Parisian tech giant today said the board approved divesting the division, along with its Premier Retail Networks digital signage business.