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Cirque du Soleil cuts 400 jobs

Cirque du Soleil announced Wednesday up to 400 layoffs -- nine percent of its workforce -- citing rising production costs for cutting deeply into profits, despite record ticket sales and revenue.

"The Cirque is not facing a crisis. Things are actually going well," Renee-Claude Menard, public relations director for the Canadian entertainment firm, told a press conference.

She said the flashy, musically-driven and modern circus show had sold 14 million tickets last year and revenues topped one billion dollars.

But the company's rapid growth, and several "exterior factors" including a stubbornly high Canadian dollar, have taken their toll, she said. Half of Cirque's staff are based in Montreal and paid in Canadian dollars while 90 percent of its revenues are earned abroad.

Several shows were cancelled last year. Nineteen are still in production in Las Vegas and elsewhere.

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