WorldCom axes 2,000 jobs in Europe

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WorldCom axes 2,000 jobs in Europe

WorldCom is to cut about 2,000 jobs across Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), including 750 in the UK, reducing its workforce by a quarter in an attempt to return to profitability.

It will also slash spending on its network infrastructure and close down unprofitable operations, turning its focus on voice, data and Internet services.

More than 3,000 people are employed at WorldCom's UK offices in Reading and Cambridge, but WorldCom has not revealed how the cuts would be split between the sites.

The international arm of WorldCom secured funding from its parent until it returns to profit sometime in 2003, the company said. The funding should ease customer concerns and end speculation of a sale of the EMEA business, WorldCom spokeswoman Rachel Richards said.

"The funding is very comforting for the European operation," she said, adding that the company is not seeing "any significant customer loss" in Europe and is, in fact, adding new customers.

Richards could not specify the "unprofitable niche products" WorldCom will discontinue, but stressed that the restructuring does not mean WorldCom will pull out of any geographic region.

WorldCom filed for bankruptcy protection in July after revealing that it had accounted improperly for billions of dollars in revenue. Several of its former executives have been indicted on securities fraud and other charges. It is hunting for a chief executive officer to replace John Sidgmore, who was named president and CEO in April.

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