Australian telecom giant Telstra to cut 8,000 jobs

Updated 20 June 2018
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Australian telecom giant Telstra to cut 8,000 jobs

SYDNEY: Australia’s dominant telecommunications company Telstra Wednesday announced plans to axe 8,000 jobs — a quarter of its workforce — as part of a drastic new strategy to cope with an increasingly competitive industry.
The decision by the company, one of Australia’s largest employers, is part of a shake-up targeting an extra Aus$1 billion ($750 million) in cost-cutting by 2022, on top of Aus$1.5 billion previously announced.
To create a leaner operation, it will also split its mobile and infrastructure divisions into separate businesses.
“We are creating a new Telstra that is able to continue to lead the market,” said chief executive Andrew Penn.
“In the future our workforce will be a smaller, knowledge-based one with a structure and way of working that is agile enough to deal with rapid change.
“This means that some roles will no longer be required, some will change and there will also be new ones created.”
The cuts come less than a month after Telstra said its 2017/18 earnings will likely be at the bottom of its guidance range of Aus$10.1 billion to Aus$10.6 billion, blaming increasing competition in mobile and fixed broadband.
The warning sent its shares tumbling to a more-than six-year low of Aus$2.71.
Telstra employs 32,000 people across 20 countries, according to its most recent annual report. Of the jobs to go, one in four will be executive and middle management roles.
Penn said the company had to take action to stay on top in a highly competitive market.
“The rate and pace of change in our industry is increasingly driven by technological innovation and competition,” he said.
“In this environment traditional companies that do not respond are most at risk.
“We have worked hard preparing Telstra for this market dynamic while ensuring we did not act precipitously. However, we are now at a tipping point where we must act more boldly if we are to continue to be the nation’s leading telecommunications company.”

Telstra has a range of businesses including fixed broadband, mobile, data and IP, network application and services, digital media and international.
Part of its new strategy will see it create a wholly-owned standalone infrastructure business unit from July 1.
Called Telstra InfraCo, it will comprise the telecom’s fixed-network infrastructure including data centers, non-mobiles related domestic fiber, international subsea cables, exchanges, poles, ducts and pipes.
Its services will be sold to Telstra, wholesale customers and Australia’s National Broadband Network, controlling assets with a book value of about Aus$11 billion.
“As technology innovation is increasingly relying on connectivity, the role of telecommunications infrastructure is becoming more important,” said Penn.
“There is virtually no technological innovation happening today that does not rely on a high-quality, reliable, safe and secure telecommunications network.
“In this world our infrastructure assets are becoming more valuable. By creating a new infrastructure-focused business unit we will better optimize and manage these assets.”
Telstra also intends to “monetise assets of up to Aus$2 billion over the next two years to strengthen the balance sheet,” and has set aside Aus$600 million in restructuring costs.


Gulf defense spending ‘to top $110bn by 2023’

Updated 15 February 2019
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Gulf defense spending ‘to top $110bn by 2023’

  • Saudi Arabia and UAE initiatives ‘driving forward industrial defense capabilities’
  • Budgets are increasing as countries pursue modernization of equipment and expansion of their current capabilities

LONDON: Defense spending by Gulf Arab states is expected to rise to more than $110 billion by 2023, driven partly by localized military initiatives by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, a report has found.

Budgets are increasing as countries pursue the modernization of equipment and expansion of their current capabilities, according to a report by analytics firm Jane’s by IHS Markit.

Military expenditure in the Gulf will increase from $82.33 billion in 2013 to an estimated $103.01 billion in 2019, and is forecast to continue trending upward to $110.86 billion in 2023.

“Falling energy revenues between 2014 and 2016 led to some major procurement projects being delayed as governments reigned in budget deficits,” said Charles Forrester, senior defense industry analyst at Jane’s.

“However, defense was generally protected from the worst of the spending cuts due to regional security concerns and budgets are now growing again.”

Major deals in the region have included Eurofighter Typhoon purchases by countries including Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

Saudi Arabia is also looking to “localize” 50 percent of total government military spending in the Kingdom by 2030, and in 2017 announced the launch of the state-owned military industrial company Saudi Arabia Military Industries.

Forrester said such moves will boost the ability for Gulf countries to start exporting, rather than purely importing defense equipment.

“Within the defense sector, the establishment of Saudi Arabia Military Industries (SAMI) in 2017 and consolidation of the UAE’s defense industrial base through the creation of Emirates Defense Industries Company (EDIC) in 2014 have helped consolidate and drive forward industrial defense capabilities,” he said.

“This has happened as the countries focus on improving the quality of the defense technological work packages they undertake through offset, as well as increasing their ability to begin exporting defense equipment.”

Regional countries are also considering the use of “disruptive technologies” such as artificial intelligence in defense, Forrester said.

Meanwhile, it emerged on Friday that worldwide outlays on weapons and defense rose 1.8 percent to more than $1.67 trillion in 2018.

The US was responsible for almost half that increase, according to “The Military Balance” report released at the Munich Security Conference and quoted by Reuters.

Western powers were concerned about Russia’s upgrades of air bases and air defense systems in Crimea, the report said, but added that “China perhaps represents even more of a challenge, as it introduces yet more advanced military systems and is engaged in a strategy to improve its forces’ ability to operate at distance from the homeland.”