Telenor Norway cuts staff, consultants in efficiency drive

Telenor Norway is shedding nearly 300 jobs as it seeks to cut costs to offset falling fixed-line revenues.

Some 182 staff will leave the company as part of a voluntary redundancy scheme launched in March, and Telenor predicted at least another 100 will go during the remainder of 2014 as part of an early retirement package.

The company is also targeting a reduction in the number of external consultants it uses. The goal for 2014 is to reduce consultant usage by the equivalent of 207 man-years, by using in-house expertise wherever possible, and limiting future use of consultants only to specific assignments, rather than ongoing tasks.

Berit Svendsen, CEO of Telenor Norway, said the effect of the redundancies and cuts to consultant numbers is "significant," and admitted the move means Telenor Norway will have to "opt out of certain assignments" going forward.

On the flip side, Svendsen noted the company is hiring 34 people to replace outgoing consultants--a move he said will make the company more flexible by allowing it "to shift expertise and resources to areas and assignments where this is most needed."

Telenor said it is looking for IT domain architects and security experts, which are needed to help the company transition from older equipment to Internet based voice and data platforms, the CEO said.

Telenor Norway saw fixed-line voice revenues fall 314 million Norwegian kroner (€38 million/$52 million)in 2013, which contributed to an 87 million kroner decline in EBITDA during the year.

Rival Tele2 is currently considering its position in Norway after it missed out on an LTE licence and additional 3G spectrum that was auctioned off in December.

A Berenberg Bank analyst last week said Tele2's best option for Norway is to sell the business to rival TeliaSonera--a move that could net Tele2 up to 3 billion Swedish kronor (€334 million/$458 million) more than analysts believe the company is worth.

For more:
- see Telenor Norway's staff announcement
- see Telenor's annual report

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