The telecommunications conglomerate BCE Inc. has announced the elimination of 4,800 jobs, which accounts for 9% of its workforce, marking its most significant restructuring in three decades. The announcement comes as BCE reported a 23.3% decline in its fourth-quarter net profit, amounting to $435 million. Mirko Bibic, President and CEO of BCE, stated that the job cuts will occur at all levels of the company, with a focus on attrition and the elimination of vacant positions before resorting to direct workforce reductions and layoffs.
BCE aims to achieve annual cost savings of $250 million through this restructuring. Additionally, the company plans to sell 45 of its 103 regional radio stations to seven different buyers, pending approval from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). In order to address the challenging financial situation, BCE intends to reduce its investment spending by $500 million in 2024.
Mirko Bibic expressed concerns regarding the regulatory environment, stating that the CRTC’s recent decision to grant third-party resellers access to their high-speed fibre network has hindered the company’s ability to recoup its investment. BCE expects to face continued declines in legacy phone revenues, with over $250 million in losses expected annually. Bell Media, a subsidiary of BCE, also experienced a decline of $140 million in advertising revenues in 2023.
The announcement of job cuts and station sales follows a previous round of restructuring by BCE in June 2023, which involved the elimination of approximately 1,300 positions primarily in management. The company cited declining legacy phone revenues and losses in its news and radio operations as reasons for the previous restructuring.
BCE’s decision to reduce its workforce and sell radio stations reflects the challenging economic landscape and regulatory decisions that have impacted the telecommunications industry. The company, like many others in the sector, is grappling with increased competition from global tech giants and the need to adapt to evolving consumer demands.
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