Orbital Engine Corporation today announced staff reductions to ‘better align its capabilities with future business opportunities.’

Thirty-seven technical and support staff have been affected, generating an annualised saving of approximately A$2 million.

The cuts are in respnse to ‘weak trading conditions’ in the half-year ended 31 December 2001 as well as ‘evolving customer requirements.’

In particular, Orbital says that demand for activity such as the fabrication and testing of engine prototypes has declined in favour of higher value engineering consultancy and computer-based engineering design.

The latest staff reductions follow an earlier round of cost-cutting measures, implemented in mid 2001 that are generating annual savings of approximately A$4 million.

The total cost of the latest measures is put at approximately A$1.0 million. All anticipated costs have been taken into account in the results outlook for the half-year ended 31 December 2001 provided to the Australian Stock Exchange on 19th December.

In expressing his concern for the personal impact on employees caused by these restructurings, Peter Cook, Orbital’s recently appointed CEO, commented that ‘the company must be continually committed to cost containment and improved efficiency at all levels of the organization.’

Orbital – headquartered in Perth, Australia – is a developer of engine technologies using direct in-cylinder fuel injection and lean-burn systems. The company has attracted considerable interest in the past with automotive powertrain technologies including the ‘orbital two stroke’.