Nokia Siemens eyeing cost cuts, layoffs

Network equipment maker announces major reorganization, with cost cuts and layoffs in plan to slash operating expenses by 500 million euros by end of 2011.

Damaged by lower sales, huge operating losses, and a falling market share, Nokia Siemens Networks is pinning its hopes on a major reorganization.

The network equipment maker, jointly owned by Nokia and Siemens, announced Tuesday that it will lay off 5,700 employees and cut its five business units to three as part of a plan to slash expenses by 500 million euros ($740 million) by the end of 2011.

The layoffs will represent around 7 percent to 9 percent of the company's 64,000 global employees and is likely to be felt across all countries in which Nokia Siemens has a presence. The company did not state which jobs would be affected but did say that any disruption to sales positions that deal directly with customers should be limited.

The three new revamped business units are expected to launch on January 1 and will include Business Solutions, Network Systems, and Global Services.

"As our customers make purchasing decisions, they want a partner who engages in issues well beyond a traditional discussion of technology," said Rajeev Suri, chief executive officer of Nokia Siemens Networks, in a statement. "Business models, innovation, growth and transformation are now very much front and center when it comes to the selection of a technology partner - and our planned new structure will position us well in this changing market."

The company said it's also looking at potential new acquisitions and partnerships that could enhance its product line or expand its customer base. In June, Nokia Siemens bought Nortel's wireless technology for $650 million.

"We recognize that we are operating in a market where customer needs are evolving fast," said Mika Vehvilainen, chief operating officer of Nokia Siemens Networks, in a statement. "We see acquisitions and expanded partnering as important tools to help meet these needs in the fastest, most efficient way possible."

Formed in early 2007, Nokia Siemens has seemed cursed from the start. Its launch was initially delayed a few months due to a bribery scandal involving several former Siemens executives.

The new company had hardly gotten off the ground when it announced it wouldn't meet financial expectations. And it's struggled since then, hurt by the economic downturn and increasing competition.

Third-quarter sales fell 21 percent to 2.8 billion euros, while its operating loss widened to 1.1 billion euros. Parent Nokia was recently forced to spend 908 million euros to write down the value of the deteriorating business.

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.

 

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