Image courtesy of Weatherford International.

Service player Weatherford International said Wednesday it will lay off 5,000 employees during the first quarter as it tries to cut costs amid low oil prices.

The cuts will affect operating and support positions, with 85 percent of the lay offs hitting employees in the Western Hemisphere, UK-based Weatherford said.

The company currently employs about 56,000 people throughout the world.

The headcount reductions are expected to yield an annualized savings of over $350 million and are slated to be complete by the end of the first quarter.

“Due to the quickly changing market conditions, we are aligning and reducing our cost as well as organizational structures to match the new environment,” Weatherford said.

The company is also offering voluntary buyouts to certain eligible employees to further trim its staff.

“We are ready to react swiftly to a dramatically changing landscape,” Chief Executive Bernard J. Duroc-Danner said.

Weatherford reported a fourth quarter net loss of $475 million, or $0.61 per diluted share, up from a $271 million loss during the same period last year.

The company booked a 2014 fourth quarter revenue of $3.73 billion, down slightly from $3.74 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013.


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