R.J. Reynolds Tobacco cuts 2,600 jobs, about 40 percent of work force, in effort to trim costs

Wednesday, September 17th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) _ R.J. Reynolds Tobacco will cut about 2,600 jobs, about 40 percent of its work force, in an effort to trim costs, the company announced Wednesday.

``Reynolds Tobacco is fundamentally changing the way it operates its business in order to deliver profit growth,'' said Andrew J. Schindler, chairman and chief executive officer of RJR. The company is the nation's second-largest cigarette maker.

Schindler said the job cuts are part of plans to trim expenses by $1 billion by the end of 2005 and the company will focus its spending on premium brands, such as Camel, Salem and Winston.

The company has also started looking at other ways to cut costs, including consolidating facilities and outsourcing some work.

``Given the continuing challenges in the domestic market, it's critical that we position ourselves for future profit growth,'' Schindler said.

RJR will take a third-quarter restructuring charge of about $340 million, or about $205 million after taxes.