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Eircom to slash up to 400 jobs

Cost-cutting move not unexpected

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Telecoms operator Eircom has confirmed it is to seek job cuts before the end of the year.

Reports on Wednesday claimed that up to 400 jobs could go at Eircom in the cost-cutting exercise after chief executive Rex Comb told the Irish Times the board was mulling over the prospect.

A spokesperson for the company said the board was looking at job cuts, and said they would happen by way of a "voluntary leaving programme". Although the details have yet to be finalised, Eircom told ENN that the company hopes to have the redundancies completed by the end of the year.

"We're looking at it in terms of the contribution that everyone makes within the organisation and making sure we retain the vast majority of our staff," said Paul Bradley, Eircom's head of corporate communications, speaking with ENN. "But we have to find where that value is in terms of providing a better value service to customers."

He said the job cuts would take place across three divisions - central services, retail and wholesale networks.

The talk of job cuts shouldn't come as a shock to Eircom employees. In March, chairman Pierre Danon said the company would seek to cut up to 10 per cent of its workforce. The 300 to 400 losses discussed by Comb is a more conservative figure.

However, the news comes only hours after Eircom announced its first quarter results, which saw significant gains in customer numbers and revenue.

The telecoms firm rang up revenue of €490m for the period, and reversed a year ago operating loss of €2m to a €60m operating profit.

Customer numbers were up in both broadband and mobile divisions, with the telecoms firm adding 57,000 new DSL customers in the first quarter to bring its total broadband subscribers to 417,000 as of 31 March 2007. Mobile division Meteor added 29,000 new customers during the three-month period.

Despite talks of job losses, chief executive Rex Comb reiterated the firm's commitment to developing a new next generation network to benefit Irish broadband customers.

Eircom has gone through some changes recently. In 2006, it was taken over by Australian investment firm Babcock & Brown, and there has been some speculation about the former incumbent splitting into several divisions.

Copyright © 2007, ENN

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