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Wärtsilä to slash 1200 jobs worldwide, 150 in Finland

The payroll cuts will hit hardest in the west coast city of Vaasa.

Wärtsilä logo.
Image: Ilmari Herranen / AOP

Power systems company Wärtsilä said on Wednesday that it is looking to shed 1,200 positions worldwide as it moves to implement a competitiveness-boosting programme aimed at saving 100 million euros annually.

In Finland, the payroll reductions will translate into a maximum of 150 job losses, with the biggest impact expected in the west coast town of Vaasa, where Wärtsilä is the city's largest private sector employer and where most of the firm's Finland-based workforce is located.

Listed on the Helsinki Stock Exchange, Wärtsilä employs over 19,000 people in 80 countries; one-fifth of the workforce is based in Finland.

"So the Finnish part of the cuts is smaller than the [relative] component of its personnel,"said the firm's communications chief, Atte Palomäki.

New production facility planned in Vaasa

The company said that it will implement the cost-cutting programme incrementally starting in late 2019 and expects to complete it by the end of 2020.

"Tensions in global trade, geopolitical uncertainty and market fluctuations are cause for concern," group chief executive Jaakko Eskola said in a statement.

"This is a painful step, but unfortunately we cannot avoid personnel reductions."

The announcement came as Wärtsilä released its full-year financial statements for 2018. The company reported increased revenues, operating profits and order intake. However profits in the last quarter fell by 15 million euros to 226 million. The result included a significant provision for cost overruns related to two nuclear power projects.

Last summer the company announced a major investment in Vaasa that involved beginning construction on a new production facility, possibly in 2019.

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