January 9, 2019 / 12:16 PM / 10 months ago

Belgium's Proximus plans to cut net 650 jobs: Belga

A flag with the logo of Proximus is seen at the headquarters of the Belgian telecoms operator in Brussels, Belgium January 9, 2019. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Belgian telecoms operator Proximus (PROX.BR) plans to cut a net 650 jobs, Belgian news agency Belga said on Wednesday, quoting the country’s economy minister.

Local media had earlier reported that Proximus planned to cut its workforce by 15 percent by axing 2,000 positions.

Economy minister Kris Peeters was quoted by Belga as saying that the former state monopoly operator had outlined its plans and these entailed cutting 1,900 posts, while also hiring 1,250.

The head of the company was summoned on Wednesday morning to with Prime Minister Charles Michel and members of his government. The Belgian state owns 53.5 percent of Proximus shares.

The loss of so many jobs would be bad news for the government ahead of an election at the end of May. The job cuts may also be a response to government plans to allow a fourth mobile operator to enter the Belgian market.

Proximus’s main current competitors are Telenet (TNET.BR) and Orange Belgium (OBEL.BR).

Trading in Proximus shares was suspended at the opening on Wednesday until the company releases a statement.

Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; editing by Francesco Guarascio

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