(Updates share price in final paragraph.)
Dec. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Cisco Systems Inc., the biggest maker of computer-networking equipment, will hire 1,700 employees in Ontario over the next six years, bolstering the Canadian province’s technology sector as traditional manufacturers close plants and fire workers.
The jobs are part of a 10-year pact with Ontario to invest $4 billion in the province, including $2.2 billion in salaries, the San Jose, California-based company said in a statement. Cisco already has 1,300 employees in Ontario and may increase that to 5,000 by 2024, Karin Scott, a spokeswoman for Cisco, said in an e-mail.
“We’re sending a message to the world that Ontario is the best place anywhere for business to innovate,” Eric Hoskins, Ontario’s minister for economic development, trade and employment, said in the statement. Ontario will pay as much as $220 million for the initiative.
Once a dominant economic force in the country, Ontario’s manufacturing sector has contracted 30 percent in the last 10 years from 1.1 million jobs in November 2003 to 771,300 last month, according to Statistics Canada. Kellogg Co. and HJ Heinz Co. have said they will close Ontario plants in the last two months.
BlackBerry Ltd., which is based in Waterloo, Ontario, said in September it would cut a third of its workforce after reporting a 40 percent plunge in sales.
Cisco yesterday reduced its revenue forecast for the next three to five years amid weaker demand from emerging markets and telecommunications-service providers. The company has eliminated 12,300 positions in about the past two years, including 4,000 jobs, or 5 percent of the workforce, announced in August.
The new Cisco jobs will focus on research and development, and the company will build a new Toronto headquarters, according to the statement.
“This initiative will also ensure that Ontario continues to be a leader in the information and communications technology industry, with a vast talent pool representing the country’s next generation of innovation,” Nitin Kawale, president of Cisco Canada, said in the statement.
Cisco fell 1.3 percent to $20.24 at the close in New York.
--Editors: Pui-Wing Tam, Ari Levy