MTN Plans South Africa Job Cuts in Overhaul of Business Unit

MTN Group Ltd., Africa’s largest wireless carrier, plans to cut a number of its 578-strong business-unit workforce as part of a reorganization designed to boost profitability from corporate customers.

Consultations with affected employees will start on Wednesday, Johannesburg-based MTN said in an e-mailed statement. The proposed cuts are across all staff levels and will be located in South Africa. The company also plans to hire new employees for some roles as it seeks to gain market share.

“We are reorganizing to enhance our customer service and market differentiation,” Alpheus Mangale, chief enterprise officer of MTN South Africa, said in the statement. “We plan to venture into certain market segments, and to successfully do so, we need to acquire the right set of skills.”

MTN, which has about 22,000 employees and 219 million subscribers across 22 countries in Africa and the Middle East, is battling to compete in its home market of South Africa, where it trails Vodacom Group Ltd. in customer numbers. Johannesburg-based Vodacom, majority owned by England-based Vodafone Group Plc, is seeking regulatory approval to buy broadband company Neotel Pty Ltd. to expand its offering to small and medium-sized businesses.

While MTN’s South African customer base rose 5.7 percent to 26.7 million in the three months through September, about half the population, the company has a 7 percent share of the $5.6 billion local business market, according to an internal document seen by Bloomberg.

MTN shares gained 0.3 percent to 202.50 rand at the close in Johannesburg, valuing the company at 374 billion rand ($32.5 billion). The stock is down 8.5 percent this year.

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