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Seagate To Close N. Ireland Plant

The company is closing a 10-year-old plant in Limavady in County Derry that manufactures substrate materials used in disks for hard drives, Seagate spokesman Woody Monroy said.

Monroy did not know how much money the company would save from the move but said it is part of Seagate's ongoing effort to streamline operations. He said Seagate expanded substrate manufacturing at its facilities in Singapore and Malaysia last year while external suppliers have lowered their costs.

"It's no longer competitive from a business standpoint" to keep the Limavady plant open, Monroy said.

A larger plant in Springtown, in County Londonderry in Northern Ireland, will not be affected. That location has 1,400 employees and manufactures the recording-head components for hard drives.

Strong demand for hard drives in products ranging from computers to digital video recorders has contributed to Seagate's income growth this year. But its profit is tempered by competitive pricing.

For its last fiscal quarter, which ended Sept. 28, Seagate's earnings grew to $355 million, or 64 cents per share, more than 18 times the year-ago period's earnings of $19 million, or 3 cents per share.

For the current quarter, Seagate forecast a profit of 57 cents to 61 cents per share on revenue of $3.15 billion to $3.25 billion.

Shares of Seagate were up 56 cents, or 2 percent, at $27.51 in midday trading.

The company is based in the Cayman Islands but operates out of Scotts Valley, near Santa Cruz.

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