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UAE’s Etisalat to cut 3 pct of staff

Competition from Du forces Etisalat to improve performance; company chasing high growth markets in Africa and Middle East.

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December 18, 2010 3:01 by



Etisalat will cut about three percent of its staff, aiming to reduce costs as it faces greater competition in domestic markets, the UAE telecoms operator said in remarks published on Saturday.

The United Arab Emirates market leader in the Gulf Arab country’s telecoms sector will cut at least 300 of 10,460 jobs, the National said, citing Etisalat officials.

Faiez Awadh, Etisalat’s senior vice president of human resources told the paper the cuts would be “focused on productivity, performance, age and redundancy factors.”

In the UAE, Etisalat faces rising competition from telecoms provider du , the country’s second largest provider, with a market share of 37 percent at the end of August. Du’s third quarter profits more than doubled last month on strong revenue growth, it said.

Etisalat has been seeking access to high-growth Middle East and African markets, including Iraq and Sudan.

It had been trying to buy a stake in Kuwaiti telecoms carrier Zain , but on Thursday lowered its bid to 40 percent, from 46 percent, for $12 billion from a consortium led by Kuwaiti construction and investment company, Kharafi Group.

But shareholders outside the consortium and a Zain board member opposed the premium the Kharafi Group would earn from the deal and moved to block it, potentially delaying the acquisition.

Etisalat’s original offer, when included with treasury shares owned by Zain, would have given the UAE carrier a controlling 51 percent stake.

(Writing by Erika Solomon; Editing by Miral Fahmy)



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