Telenor Group is set to cut 6,000 jobs over the next three years as it continues an aggressive cost-cutting programme.

Speaking at the company’s Q4 2017 earnings presentation, CEO Sigve Brekke (pictured) said it reduced its workforce by 8 per cent in 2017 – around 2,600 staff – as part of a number of sweeping efficiency measures.

“2018 is going to be hard. The more and more you dig into more structural initiatives the harder it gets,” Brekke said. However, he noted the company’s management team remained committed to the business transformation plan.

Telenor announced plans to simplify its business and focus on digital in early 2017, alongside a number of efforts to reduce its overheads including digitising IT and technology systems. During 2017, it saved NOK1.6 billion ($208 million), with a NOK600 million cost reduction in Q4 alone.

The company generated a net profit of NOK2.2 billion in Q4, down from NOK2.8 billion in the same period of 2016, and added 2 million new connections across its markets taking its total to 178 million.

“We enter 2018 with clear priorities to deliver on our digital transformation agenda, to continue to seek efficiency gains and revenue growth, while simplifying our portfolio and way of work across the company,” Brekke said.

“Change starts with people, and in order to succeed with our transformation, we will continue to invest in our teams. We seek to personalise our customers’ experience and improve satisfaction based on their needs and preferences.”

Asset sales
Although open on the savings being made in its business units, Brekke remained tight-lipped on the prospect of a sale of assets in Central and Eastern Europe.

The company last week announced it received an unsolicited approach for its business units in Hungary, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Serbia. The identity of the party and potential price were not disclosed.

Refusing to be drawn on the issue, he said the review of the bid would likely take around two months and further details would be released then.