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Teligent cuts staff amid telecom troubles

The struggling telecommunications company will cut 900 employees and review its network services business with a goal of bringing the company back to profitability.

Struggling telecommunications company Teligent on Friday said it will cut about 900 employees and review its network services business with a goal of bringing the company back to profitability.

The layoffs represent about 37 percent of the Vienna, Va.-based company's roughly 2,400 employees, said Teligent spokeswoman Tita Thompson.

Small telecommunications players, like Teligent and Winstar Communications, have struggled to compete with larger rivals in the communcations market. Winstar in April filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and was delisted from the Nasdaq stock exchange.

Teligent uses radio signals rather than fiber-optic cables or copper telephone wires to transmit voice and data services over networks. It and other carriers have buckled under the high costs of building networks and face a lack of additional funds, as the capital markets have become reluctant to lend them more money.

Last week, lenders behind Teligent's $800 million credit facility extended until May 15 the company's deadline to come up with $350 million in additional financing to make interest payments. The original deadline was April 30.

Teligent has seen its stock plummet 98 percent over the past year from a 52-week high of $40.12 to 56 cents on Thursday.

"Our effort is to try and bring our business back," Thompson said.

In April, Chief Executive Alex Mandl resigned and was replaced by executives at IDT, a network equipment provider and Teligent's biggest shareholder. Yoav Krill, managing director of IDT's European division, was named COO and acting CEO of Teligent.

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