France Telecom launches $1.5b staff relief fund

Natalie Apostolou
02 Nov 2009

In the wake of a spate of staff suicides, France Telecom has created a €1 billon ($1.5b) to help employees affected by the company’s restructure.

The company announced the measure during its Q3 results as its attempts to mend broken morale company following the suicide of 25 employees in the since early last year.

The three-year fund will help staff aged 57 or above go part-time if they are showing signs of stress. However many of the suicide victims were much younger than 57, suggesting that the affects of the restructure are being felt equally throughout the organization.

Meanwhile, France Telecom reported a 6.4% decline in its 3rd-quarter revenues to €12.7 billion. Ebitda fell 8% to €4.6 billion compared to the previous quarter.

France Telecom chairman and CEO Didier Lombard said “against a backdrop of difficult economic, social and regulatory conditions, the group is proving its ability to maintain its performance.”

The group reported 189.1 million customers, excluding MVNOs as at the end of September, up 6.6% year on year with 11.7 million additional customers compared to the same period in 2008. Mobile growth continued to be strong in the quarter with a 9.5% year on year increase on customers to 128.8 million, excluding MVNOs.

Lombard added that “despite mixed conditions across our footprint, our performance in France was notable. Revenues from France were up 0.6% and the take-up of new services continues to spread, particularly those related to 3G and our digital TV offers. Our ability to weather current conditions rests on the group's financial strength, on our ability to innovate and on the commitment of our teams around the world.”

Sales in the UK felt the brunt of the economic slowdown declining by 7.1%, or by 2.4% excluding exchange rate effects.

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