Etisalat to slash Pakistan jobs

UAE Telecom operator is to cut staff at state-controlled Pakistan affiliate after 25% profit drop.

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By  Reuters Published  September 17, 2007

Emirates Telecommunications (Etisalat) said yesterday it plans to cut staff at affiliate Pakistan Telecommunication after the South Asian firm reported a 25 percent drop in annual profit.

"The fall in profit was expected because the company did not improve its performance that was weighed by high operation costs, especially staff, and the low tariffs on incoming international calls," Jamal al-Jarwan, Etisalat's chief executive for international investments, told Reuters.

Asked if United Arab Emirates-controlled Etisalat plans to cut staff at Pakistan's largest telecoms provider, Jarwan said: "Yes".

Pakistan Telecom employs 65,000 people and has 5.7 million customers, according to its Web site.

The state-controlled firm, which Etisalat manages and of which it owns 26 percent, said last week that profit in the year to June 30 fell as rising competition in the world's sixth most populous nation cut revenue.

Pakistan Telecom shares, which are up almost 13 percent this year, closed down 0.4 percent on Monday.

Etisalat Chairman Mohammed al-Omran told Reuters this month that Etisalat is interested in raising its stake in Pakistan Telecom to 51 percent.

Etisalat also plans for Pakistan Telecom to offer more broadband services allowing faster access to the Internet, Jarwan said. Less than 5 percent of Pakistan's population of 165 million have access to broadband services, he said.

"We believe there is great potential in this market," Jarwan Said, unable immediately to say how much will be invested.

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