Hercules Inc. said Monday it will immediately lay off 120 workers at its Bacchus Works facility in Magna.

Spokesman Bill Hawkesworth said the layoffs are part of the ongoing Operational Profitability Improvement (OPI) program the company launched last fall to improve profits and efficiency. Since then, total Utah employment of Hercules has fallen from 4,400 to just below 4,000.Although the word "layoffs" was used, they are actually terminations. "It's not written in concrete, but there are no plans to bring these people back," Hawkesworth said.

The latest job cutbacks total 400 who have been laid off at Hercules since last fall.

And there may be more to come. Rumors of temporary furloughs of Hercules employees have been circulating for some time, and Hawkes-worth would not rule them out. "That's being assessed, but the announcement today doesn't include any furloughs," he said.

The failure of a Hercules-built Titan 4 rocket motor in California last week has also prompted speculation that the program may be in trouble and that it could cost even more Utah jobs. Hawkesworth said the company is still trying to determine what effect the Titan explosion will have, but stressed it has nothing to do with Monday's layoffs. "A lot has to do with the outcome of the current investigation."

He said Monday's layoffs involve a variety of people in different areas and does not mean the termination of any particular contract.