NTL to cut 6,000 jobs following merger

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NTL, the cable group, is expected to announce about 6,000 job cuts following its merger with Telewest.

This week it will give investors details of its plans for the merged group along with its first-quarter results.

The job cuts follow 2,000 at Orange as it integrates the Wanadoo business, and another 2,300 at ICI.

When NTL announced its merger with Telewest last year it pledged annualised cost synergies of £250m, which it is expected to elaborate on tomorrow.

Many of the job cuts are understood to come from outsourcing agreements with suppliers, such as technology engineers and technical support. NTL declined to comment on Sunday.

Over the past year NTL and Telewest have been gradually outsourcing technical jobs in order to reduce staff numbers in preparation for the merger.

Stephen Burch, the new NTL chief executive, is also expected to offer investors more detail on his strategy for the merged cable group. Last month the company announced its acquisition of Richard Branson’s Virgin Mobile, which will enable it offer customers “quadruple play” – four services including fixed line and mobile telephony, internet and television. Such additional services are likely to help reduce customer “churn” amid intensifying competition in the broadband market and the gradual decline in fixed line telephone usage.

Investors are also looking for more information about television content strategy, following NTL’s failure to acquire any of the Premiership football live broadcasting rights last week.

NTL is believed to have bid in the second round along with British Sky Broadcasting and Setanta, the Irish pay TV company that won two packages.

But it failed to bid aggressively as the new management did not have enough time to devote to their sports rights acquisition strategy.

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