BY ANDREW SIMONS
Unisys Corp. stands to boost its Orange County operations for the first time in years in a consolidation of its San Diego County unit.
The Blue Bell, Pa.-based technology consulting company and maker of high-end servers is set to shutter a facility in Rancho Bernardo and move some employees in Mission Viejo, the company said.
The company’s Rancho Bernardo and Mission Viejo operations are part of Unisys’ server group. Unisys has 600 workers in Mission Viejo and 300 in Rancho Bernardo.
It’s not clear how many workers will move north to Mission Viejo. Unisys said it doesn’t plan to offer all its Rancho Bernardo workers jobs in Orange County.
“We don’t have any final plans yet,” said spokeswoman Elizabeth Douglass. “We’ve spoken to our employees in Mission Viejo to tell them what’s happening.”
The consolidation is part of Unisys’ companywide cost-cutting effort that began last year.
“We’re just trying to improve our efficiency overall,” Douglass said.
The server unit has been a drag on the company’s financial results of late.
Last month, Unisys told investors it lost money in the second quarter, weighed down in part by lower demand for its computer servers.
Unisys posted a second-quarter operating loss of $57 million, vs. a $23 million profit a year earlier. Total revenue from consulting and servers rose 3 percent to $1.4 billion in the period. But Unisys said its computer hardware sales, which include the server unit, fell 13 percent to $200 million.
“As was the case in the first quarter, our results were impacted by the continuing challenges of several transformational business process outsourcing contracts as well as weak demand for enterprise servers,” said Unisys Chief Executive Joseph McGrath, in a statement.
Unisys’ move will be another hit to San Diego County, which has suffered other corporate cutbacks of late.
Last year, computer maker Gateway Inc. moved its headquarters from Poway to Irvine after buying Orange County’s eMachines Inc. Hundreds of jobs came north in the relocation.
San Diego also lost about 100 jobs when Hewlett-Packard Co. made cuts across its operations.
Unisys once was much bigger in Orange County, counting as many as 1,300 workers in Mission Viejo at one time. It ranked as the second largest computer products maker in the county in the mid-1990s.
The technology downturn in 2000 and 2001 hit its local operations hard and the company cut costs.
The move to consolidate Unisys’ Rancho Bernardo and Mission Viejo operations marks the first time in more than five years that Unisys plans to expand its overall Orange County work force.
Other technology companies that have shed Orange County workers in the last few years include Japan’s Toshiba America Information Systems Inc.
Toshiba, whose U.S. computer unit is based in Irvine, has cut employment dramatically in Orange County during the last five years.
The computer maker counted 648 local workers on the
Orange County Business Journal
‘s most recent list of top computer products makers, in June. That’s down 28 percent from a year earlier.
Five years ago, Toshiba counted 2,300 local workers in its computer unit.
The bulk of Toshiba’s cuts in the past year came after it shed its wireless networking and cable modem businesses, eliminating 150 jobs. In 2000, Toshiba moved laptop computer production to Asia from Irvine, cutting 500 jobs from its local operation.
Still, other computer products companies have added people in Orange County.
Western Digital Corp., the Lake Forest disk drive maker, posted a 6 percent gain to 925 local workers in the past year, according to the company.
Overall, employment at computer hardware makers in Orange County grew 2 percent in the past year, making this the second year of a rebound from the technology downturn.
Andrew Simons writes for the
Orange County Business Journal.