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 Iomega profits dip, demand weak for Zip, Jaz drives
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Message Text: Iomega Corp. , amid a campaign to redefine itself as a maker of integrated data storage products, on Thursday said fourth-quarter profits tumbled as demand slackened for its flagship Zip and Jaz drives, and CD-RW devices.

However, the company defied expectations of a loss as it pressed ahead with a restructuring that led to the recent layoff of about 80 employees -- or 10 percent of its North American work force -- and the replacement of its chief financial officer.

``We are focused on building upon our profitable core Zip product line and expanding our position in external CD-RW solutions in order to reverse the revenue decline,'' Chief Executive Werner Heid said in a statement.

``We are also putting in place initiatives to broaden Iomega's product line to expand on our position as a leading global provider of solutions for the storage, sharing and protection of digital valuables.''

Iomega is working on transforming itself from simply a maker of external hard drives to a maker of integrated data storage products that can be used for archiving and backup purposes as well as simpler data storage.

Iomega, which recently moved its headquarters to San Diego from Roy, Utah, said profits, including a $4.6 million restructuring charge, tumbled to $3.9 million or 7 cents per share, from $22 million or 41 cents per share, a year ago.

The single analyst polled by Thomson Financial/First Call had forecast a fourth-quarter loss of 7 cents per share.

Revenues plunged to $189.9 million from $331 million.

Excluding restructuring charges, Iomega's operating income fell to $9.4 million from $10.4 million in the 2000 fourth quarter.

``We have made significant progress, but we still have a long way to go to get this business in the shape it needs to be in,'' Heid said during a conference call. He stressed that there is no ``quick fix'' to the company's problems.

The company is also moving to outsource more functions, and centralize research and development in its former Utah headquarters city, Heid said.

He declined to give out future outlook for the company's performance. ``We are living in a real uncertain economy.'' Heid said. ``We have done a lot of restructuring and we are still in the middle of seeing the final fruit of all these restructuring activities.''
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