Duke Energy offers buyouts to some employees

Duke Energy said Monday it will offer buyouts to employees and consolidate corporate functions between Charlotte and its Midwest operations.

Charlotte will remain Duke's headquarters, and corporate operations such as finance, human resources and legal work will be consolidated here over two years. Duke maintains regional offices in locations including Cincinnati and Plainfield, Ind.

The "vast majority" of the Midwestern work force won't be affected, Duke said.

Duke employs about 18,000 people, including 3,300 in Ohio, 2,500 in Indiana and 300 in Kentucky. Duke hasn't set a specific job-reduction target, spokesman Tom Williams said.

The buyouts and corporate changes are aimed at shaving $200 million from operating expenses this year. Duke set a $100 million target, later increased to $150 million, for cost-cutting in 2009. It will announce whether those savings were achieved when earnings for that year are released in mid-February.

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