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Telefonica targets Brazil growth, may cut staff in Spain

15 апреля 2011

Telefonica SA said it will focus on high-growth markets like Brazil and Germany, and may cut staff in its underperforming Spanish home market by up to 20% by 2013.

Madrid-based Telefonica, Europe's second largest telecom operator by market value after the U.K.'s Vodafone PLC, said it plans to sell off Spanish assets worth around EUR600 million, including real estate.

The company also aims to increase the number of mobile high-speed Internet customers in Brazil to around 5.5 million by the end of 2013, from 200,000 at the end of last year. Brazil is Latin America's largest market and accounts for almost a fifth of Telefonica's revenue.

In Germany, Europe's largest market, Telefonica is looking to boost its share of mobile telephony revenue, to 18% from 15%.

These announcements, made during the company's two day investor event in London, come as Telefonica is struggling to boost competitiveness in Spain. The unit, formerly a cash cow, is now a relative underperformer due to Spain's economic crisis over the last three years.

"The evolution (of the Spanish unit) has been worse than we expected," said Guillermo Ansaldo, Chairman of Telefonica Espana.

Ansaldo said Telefonica Espana, with 32,000 employees, has the flexibility to lay off around 20% of those, or 6,400, but added no final decision has been taken.

Telefonica said it's looking to tie salaries at its Spanish operations to productivity, rather than relying on current pay reviews linked to Spanish inflation--a show of support for controversial labor market reforms, pushed by Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel and Spanish business leaders and economists, but opposed by powerful trade unions.

On Wednesday, the company said it is targeting annual revenue growth of between 1% and 4% and slightly lower margins until 2013, as falling consumption in Spain remains a concern.

In February, Telefonica posted a 45% drop in fourth-quarter net profit, missing analysts' expectations by more than EUR1 billion, as operating expenses surged across the board. Fourth-quarter revenue in Spain dropped 7.5% on the year.

Источник: Total Telecom

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