ECONOMY

OTE reports profit fall, sees revenue decline, plans more job cuts

OTE telecom said yesterday that fourth-quarter net profit fell 37 percent and announced plans to cut more than 3,500 jobs over three years. Net profit fell to 37.1 million euros in the three months to December 31 from 58.9 million a year earlier, said OTE, Greece’s largest telecom. OTE attributed the fall in net profit to a number of one-off items, including a tax credit recorded in the fourth quarter of 2004. For all of 2005, OTE posted a net loss of 294.1 million euros compared with a net profit of 171.3 million in 2004 after the company took a 912.9-million-euro charge in the third quarter to cover a voluntary redundancy program. OTE said it is aiming to cut its work force by a further 3,741 employees, making for a total staff of 11,000 by the end of 2008. Presenting its three-year business plan, the company said it is targeting a 2008 payroll as a percentage of revenue of 26 percent compared with 32 percent at end 2005. Of the 5,500 employees set to leave the company by mid-October under a voluntary redundancy program, more than 1,500 have already left, OTE said. OTE said it sees a slower rate of Greek fixed-line revenue decline from 2006 to 2008, partly offset by strong growth for high-speed Internet services and products. OTE predicts its fixed-line market share will fall to 67 percent by the end of 2008, from 73 percent at the end of 2005. OTE Chairman Panagis Vourloumis said the company still wishes to buy the mobile arm of Serbia Telecom, in which OTE has a 20 percent stake. (AP)