France Telecom’s Ivorian Unit Announces Unspecified Job Cuts

Orange Cote d’Ivoire, a unit of France Telecom SA (FTE), will cut an unspecified number of jobs as it moves to combine its mobile-phone unit with fixed-line services, spokesman Oliver Emberger said.

“Nobody will be fired,” Emberger of Paris-based France Telecom said in a phone interview. “We are offering a payment package for those who want to leave voluntarily.”

The Ivory Coast unit of the Orange mobile-phone brand was “adapting to the evolution of the telecommunications market” with the convergence of its mobile and fixed-line assets, he said. The biggest shareholder in Cote d’Ivoire Telecom, a fixed-line company, is France Telecom.

The telephone company announced in May it lost an estimated 29 billion CFA francs ($58.4 million) as a result of damage, including stolen transmission cables and burned-out offices, incurred during a five-month crisis after disputed presidential elections in the West African nation.

Revenue dropped 27 percent in the second quarter of 2011 compared with the same period a year earlier, according to a statement on its website.

The national telecommunications workers’ union Synapostel successfully opposed plans to fire an unspecified number of the operator’s 1,600 employees, Arsene Ahoké, head of the union, said in an interview yesterday.

Orange Cote d’Ivoire and MTN Group Ltd (MTN), are the two biggest mobile-phone operators in the country, according to the Agency for Telecommunications of Ivory Coast.

To contact the reporter on this story: Pauline Bax in Johannesburg at pbax@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net

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