Euro Disney to axe 950 jobs

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The Independent Online
PARIS (Bloomberg) - Euro Disney plans to cut 950 jobs, mainly in administrative and management positions, as part of its efforts to make its organisation more flexible.

The company, which has been making losses since the opening of its Paris theme park in April 1992, said last week it would also cut its hotel rates to boost occupancy, which has been lower than expected.

The announcement of the staff cuts, which represent 8.5 per cent of the 11,100 workforce, pushed up the share price by 1.13 per cent on the Paris Bourse to Fr53.75 ( pounds 6.40). Shortly before the park was opened in the spring of 1992 the price of the shares peaked at Fr164.30.

A redundancy plan will be put before the works council on Friday. The plan will involve about 20 different measures, such as early retirement and help for those wanting to start a business. However, the cuts will not affect people working in the park or its hotels.

Euro Disney has had to review its entire strategy, freezing a second phase of development which was to have involved the construction of a second park based on the cinema, and changing its marketing approach by cutting prices and reorganising management.

For the first nine months of its financial year the company has reported losses of Fr1.5bn.

'Euro Disney has gone in 18 months from a being a project operation to being a tourist site management company. The economic crisis has prevented us from handling this change more easily,' the company said.

Management has blamed the lower-than-expected income on disappointing occupancy levels and the reluctance of visitors to spend money once they arrive at the park.