Fri, May 11, 2018 - Page 10 News List

BT Group to slash 13,000 positions, leave London

Reuters, LONDON

BT Group PLC chief executive Gavin Patterson yesterday drinks from a mug during a Bloomberg Television interview in London, England.

Photo: Bloomberg

BT Group PLC is cutting 13,000 managerial and back-office jobs and leaving its London headquarters in the latest attempt by Britain’s biggest telecom to rebuild after an accounting scandal and downturn in trading.

Chief executive Gavin Patterson sought to keep shareholders on side by maintaining its dividend and agreeing a new pension funding plan as part of an attempt to modernize the former state-owned telecom monopoly.

Patterson, in the role since 2013, yesterday said the restructuring, which comes after a tough year last year, would focus on the essential services needed by consumers and businesses.

BT, which owns Britain’s biggest mobile operator EE, said it would hire about 6,000 new engineers and front-line customer service staff to support its roll out of fiber and 5G networks.

“This position of strength will enable us to build on the disciplined delivery and risk reduction of the last financial year, a period during which we delivered overall in-line with our financial and operational commitments whilst addressing many uncertainties,” Patterson said.

The job cuts, the highest number by the former monopoly since 2008, will save £1.5 billion (US$2.03 billion) in costs in three years, the company said. The restructuring will cost £800 million to implement.

BT also agreed a new 13-year funding plan for its pension, which had a deficit of £11.3 billion at the end of June. It is to pay £2.1 billion into the scheme by 2020 and a further £2 billion would be funded by the issuance of bonds.

The strategy comes after the group reported a 3 percent drop in fourth-quarter revenue to £5.967 billion, just missing analysts’ expectations, while core earnings came in at £2.083 billion, up 1 percent.

BT said its outlook for the current financial year, to the end of March, would see a 2 percent drop in underlying revenue, while adjusted core earnings would be in the range £7.3 billion to £7.4 billion, down from £7.5 billion last year.

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