Wipro May Trim Telecom R&D in Finland

Indian outsourcer Wipro said on Thursday that it is restructuring its research-and-development operation in Finland, in view of the "challenging industry situation" in telecommunications R&D.

The company acquired in 2006 Saraware Oy, a Finnish wireless design services company, as part of its strategy to bring to Wipro expertise in radio networks and secure mobile platforms.

Wipro said Thursday it had started negotiations with employees on the restructuring. Of the 300 employees in the country, a maximum of 85 across four locations in Finland could be affected, it said. The company has both IT services and R&D operations in the country.

The affected unit is only a part of the company's overall business operation in Finland, said Pramod Idiculla, general manager for strategy in the Wipro Technologies division, in an e-mail. "There are other businesses that continue to perform well," he added. Idiculla did not specify which business unit had been affected.

Wipro last year started winding down another R&D operation in Sophia Antipolis, France. The facility became part of Wipro after its acquisition in 2005 of NewLogic Technologies, a privately held Austrian semiconductor IP (intellectual property) and design services company. The company was focused on offering IP and design services in Bluetooth, and wireless LANs.

Wipro, however, decided last year that the market for its portfolio of connectivity IP was not viable any longer because of decreasing customer interest and increasing price pressures.

Idiculla clarified that Wipro is not closing the operation in Finland. The company has initiated a consultation procedure with the employee representatives in the country, with the aim of restructuring a part of its Finnish telecom R&D operations, he added.

"We will do everything possible to try and redeploy any potentially redundant employees within other areas of our business both within and outside Finland," Idiculla said.

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