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POLAROID cutting 2,000 jobs, or 25 percent of global work force

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BOSTON (AP) _ Polaroid, facing enormous debts as it tries to reposition itself from making cameras and film into digital imaging, said Wednesday it would cut 2,000 jobs, or 25 percent of its global work force.

About half the cuts would come in the United States, said spokesman Skip Colcord. Most of the company's domestic work force is in Massachusetts.

Polaroid said the restructuring should save the Cambridge-based company $175 million to $200 million annually by the end of 2003. The company will take restructuring charges of $150 million to $175 million in 2001 and 2002.

``This is an extremely difficult decision, but an absolutely necessary one if Polaroid is to compete in the digital future,'' said Gary T. DiCamillo, chairman and chief executive officer.

The company faced debts of $860 million as of May 16, according to its latest quarterly report.

``It's long overdue. They had to do it,'' said analyst Ulysses Yannas of Buckman Buckman & Reid.

The company already cut 950 jobs in February as it announced a plan to reduce debt.

Polaroid's core business of instant photography has struggled as one-hour film developing labs have proliferated. Last month, the company debuted digital printing technology it said is part of a new plan to collaborate with other companies to build kiosks, printers and related hardware.

But while trying to reshape its business, DiCamillo has struggled to pay down $950 million in debt since joining the company in 1995. In the last year, the company has sold several real estate assets, including its headquarters in Cambridge.

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