Nokia Siemens to cut 17,000 staff

Nokia Siemens Networks, the struggling telecoms equipment business, is to axe 17,000 employees within two years as it seeks to slash €1bn of costs out of the business.

The joint venture, which currently employs 74,000, is preparing a drastic restructuring of its global operation. It announced the scale of the staff cuts yesterday. The company would not comment on where the axe was likely to fall beyond saying the cost-cutting drive would be felt across its global operations. It employs 1,300 in the UK.

Chief executive Rajeev Suri said: "We need to take the necessary steps to maintain long-term competitiveness and improve profitability in a challenging telecommunications market," adding: "These planned reductions are regrettable but necessary."

The cuts are expected to come largely from "organisational streamlining" and will look at its real-estate assets, IT, product and procurement costs, as well as expenses and suppliers.

Talks to sell the venture to a private-equity group collapsed earlier this year. The parent companies were forced to inject a further €1bn into the operation.

Mr Suri added: "Despite the need to restructure parts of our company, our commitment to research and development remains unchanged, with investment in mobile broadband expected to increase over the coming years."

The joint venture was launched in 2007 between Nokia's network business group and most of Siemens' communication arm.

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