Allianz axes 7,500 to help it save £340m

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The Independent Online

Allianz, the German insurer, unveiled plans yesterday to cut7,500 of its 180,000-strong workforce as part of a global cost-cutting exercise it claims will save it between €500m (£344m) and €600m a year by 2008.

Only a small number of the 5,000 job cuts are expected to be made in the UK, where Allianz employs 2,500 people in its Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein investment banking business. Some 300 jobs will be cut from DKW across all of its global locations.

As well as the reorganisation of its German businesses, the company said it would be dropping the "Wasserstein" name from its investment bank.

Allianz took up the name six years ago when it bought Bruce Wasserstein's investment banking business, Wasserstein Perella. Mr Wasserstein is now head of the rival investment bank Lazard.

The majority of the cuts will be made in the company's homeland, where it plans to restructure its German insurance business, consolidating it in 10 key locations, rather than the 21 bases it currently uses. Some 5,000 of the cuts will be made here, while a further 2,480 will be made at Dresdner Bank, Germany's third-largest bank.

The group said the restructuring had been driven by the fact it had "been losing market share for years" in its insurance business, and needed to regain its competitive position.

Allianz's chief executive, Gerhard Rupprecht, said yesterday: "We have by no means taken this decision lightly, especially as we are extremely conscious of its effect on people's lives. These are painful but necessary steps to ensure a sustainable increase in Allianz's competitiveness.

"The improvements we initiated will make us more competitive in acquiring new business."