Quebecor Cuts Jobs Despite Gains

Quebecor World Inc. plans to cut 2 percent of its work force, a move made necessary by continued weakness in the print market, the company said yesterday.

The cuts will affect 909 employees when complete, Quebecor said. About 545 employees lost jobs at the end of 2002 while 364 more cuts are to come.

Quebecor also said that it expected the economy will recover more slowly than commonly believed and that recovery in the advertising industry also will trail forecasts.

News of the layoffs came a day after Quebecor announced a big improvement in profit for last year and named two former Donohue executives to lead the company. The company saw strong performance in its North American catalog/magazine business for fourth-quarter 2002 but weaker than expected results in its North American commercial/direct group.

Quebecor World, Montreal, earned $279.3 million last year, up from $22.4 million in 2001.

The two former executives of paper company Donohue Inc., which Quebecor bought and later sold, are Michel Desbiens, who replaces Charles Cavell as CEO, and Claude Helie as chief financial officer. Cavell remains as deputy chairman of the board.

With 40,000 employees in 160 facilities, Quebecor is the world's largest commercial printer. It announced several contract wins last year, including USA Weekend, Simon & Schuster, Albertsons, Rogers Publishing, Avon, Reader's Digest, Telefonica and Abril.

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