British Telecom (BT)'s headquarters is seen in central London
INTERNATIONAL - British Telecom (BT) is cutting 13000 managerial and back-office jobs and leaving its London headquarters in the latest attempt by Britain’s biggest telecoms group to rebuild after an accounting scandal and downturn in trading.

Chief executive Gavin Patterson sought to keep shareholders on side by maintaining its dividend and agreeing a new pension funding plan as part of an attempt to modernise the former state-owned telecoms monopoly.

Patterson, who is in the role since 2013, said that the restructuring, which comes after a tough 2017, would focus on the essential services that are needed by consumers and businesses.

BT, which owns Britain’s biggest mobile operator EE, said it would hire about 6000 new engineers and front line customer service staff to support its roll out of fibre and 5G networks.

“This position of strength will enable us to build on the disciplined delivery and risk reduction of the last financial year, a period during which we delivered overall in-line with our financial and operational commitments whilst addressing many uncertainties,” he said yesterday.

The job cuts, the highest number by the former monopoly since 2008, will save £1.5billion (R25.58bn) in costs in three years, the company said.

The restructuring will cost £800million to implement.

BT also agreed to a new 13-year funding plan for its pension, which had a deficit of £11.3bn at the end of June.

It will pay £2.1bn into the scheme by 2020 and a further £2bn will be funded by the issuance of bonds.

The strategy comes after the group reported a 3percent drop in fourth-quarter revenue to £5.967bn, just missing analysts’ expectations, while core earnings came in at £2.083bn, up 1percent. 

- REUTERS