Weatherford plans to cut 7,000 employees

Weatherford International Ltd. (NYSE: WFT) plans to cut 7,000 employees from its staff in the first half of the year in order to save $500 million. The company also warned that its fourth-quarter profit would miss its forecast, in part due to severe winter in North America, operational disruptions in the Middle East, and other regional factors.

On Jan. 30, Weatherford revealed plans to cut employees when it updated its fourth-quarter 2013 earnings guidance. The employee reductions are part of a global cost-cutting program that Weatherford began in 2013 in its plan to reduce the company’s debt by $3 billion to $5 billion by 2015.

The company also expects to report lower than expected fourth-quarter earnings of between 5 cents and 8 cents per share. The shortfall is attributed to activity reductions in Latin America, operational disruptions in the Middle East, and weather conditions in North America and the North Sea.

At the end of 2013, Weatherford also reached a $253 million settlement with the US government relating to violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

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