Telefonica Czech Republic, the struggling operator which local billionaire Petr Kellner is betting he can revive, has announced it will cut its workforce by 10 per cent in 2014.
The redundancies are part of a restructuring programme going back to 2011 and predates the bid by Kellner’s PPF investment group.
PPF said last week its bid for a majority stake in Telefonica Czech Republic is moving steadily towards completion after it was approved by the European Commission.
The Czech company hopes to close the deal to acquire a 66-per-cent stake from Telefonica for €2.47 billion by the end of this month. The proposed acquisition was announced in November last year.
PPF will make a mandatory offer for the outstanding shares in Telefonica Czech Republic after the deal closes, excluding the 4.9 per cent that Telefonica plans to retain.
Although it is the country’s second-largest operator, Telefonica Czech Republic is struggling from the effects of competition as four operators feud over a relatively small market.
According to GSMA Intelligence, Telefonica had just over five million connections (Q4, 2013 figures). It also has 1.5 million connections in Slovakia.
However, as the Czech Republic’s richest man, Kellner reckons he has the resource to turn the ailing business around.