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Job cuts hit solar, beauty industries

By   /   Friday, September 2nd, 2011  /   1 Comment

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Two tri-county employers on Sept. 2 confirmed job cuts that could eliminate 260 positions.

SolarWorld Industries America, the U.S. subsidiary of a major German maker of solar energy systems, said it is shuttering production at its Camarillo plant and cutting 186 jobs.

Mentor Worldwide, a Santa Barbara-based breast implant maker that was acquired by Johnson & Johnson in 2009, also confirmed layoffs but declined to provide an exact figure. A person familiar with the company said about 75 jobs were affected.

Ben Santarris, head of corporate communications at SolarWorld, said the Camarillo facility employs about 300 people. The 186 workers being let go will receive paychecks until late October.

Manufacturing is being shifted to the company’s Hillsboro, Ore., factory while sales, marketing and customer service positions will be housed in Camarillo. Those operations may expand, Santarris said.

“This is a process of specialization in two different locations,” Santarris told the Business Times on Sept. 2.

At Mentor, Christopher Allman, spokesman for the company, confirmed there had been companywide cuts but declined to say how many positions in Santa Barbara were affected. Before its buyout by Johnson & Johnson, Mentor was the third-largest publicly traded firm in the region with a market capitalization of more than $1 billion.

“The decision was difficult, but necessary, given the current economic challenges and the impact they have had on demand for elective aesthetic procedures,” Allman said in a statement. “We appreciate the contributions our associates have made to our company and the patients we serve. We will make every effort to help these employees with outplacement assistance and services.”

The cuts come a day after news that 700 Bank of America jobs could be at risk in Ventura County.

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