2 mins to read

Vodafone: mass layoffs across Tasman won't affect NZ

The Telecom tie-in | CFO moves across ditch.

Chris Keall
Tue, 30 Oct 2012

Vodafone says mass layoffs at its Australian sister company won't affect it.

"The restructure announced by Vodafone Hutchison in Australia is specific to that business and not related to Vodafone New Zealand," a spokeswoman said.

Vodafone Hutchison Australia, which lost $A260 million in the first half of 2012, is to layoff 10% of its workforce of 5000, or 500 staff.

The restructure includes a management shakeup, with Vodafone NZ CFO James Marsh moving across the Tasman to become Vodafone Hutchison Australia CFO (Vodafone NZ has yet to appoint a replacement).

The Telecom tie-in
Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) was formed in 2009 when the UK's Vodafone and Hong Kong's Hutchison (operator of the 3 network) merged their respective Australian subsidiaries. Through a twist of fate, Telecom once planned a regional alliance with Hutchison. The alliance was never realised, but early plans did lead to Telecom buying a 10% in Hutchison Australia in 2000 - which converted to a 5% stake in Vodafone Hutchison post-merger. Telecom still holds the stake today (although Vodafone maneuvering has put paid to its board seat).

VHA, which trades as Vodafone Australia in most instances, suffered network issues in 2010 into 2011 that lead to a wave of customer complaints and a legal tussle with network partner Nokia Siemens. The company is now in the midst of a $A1 billion network upgrade, in part using Huawei kit, which will include 4G service from around April next year.

Although it won't be affected by the VHA cost-cutting, change is on the way for Vodafone NZ.

In its application to takeover TelstraClear (approved by the Commerce Commission earlier today), Vodafone said it planned to make cost-savings by eliminating back-office jobs where roles overlapped.

The carrier has yet to detail the extent of merger related staff cuts. However, it has said it will favour Vodafone's call centre operation, which was repatriated to NZ last year, over TelstraClear's operation, which was outsourced to Manila.

The two businesses will be run independently for five to six months while an assessment is carried out, Vodafone corporate affairs head Tom Chignell said today.

This afternoon, TelstraClear CEO Allan Freeth, who was widely tipped to depart, confirmed he would resign as the deal was finalised tomorrow.

Chris Keall
Tue, 30 Oct 2012
© All content copyright NBR. Do not reproduce in any form without permission, even if you have a paid subscription.
Vodafone: mass layoffs across Tasman won't affect NZ