BT Ignite to axe 700 jobs this year –

As part of BT Group PLC's company-wide reorganization, the headcount at Internet services arm BT Ignite will be reduced by about 700 people in the coming 12 months, BT Group said Monday.

BT Ignite will be reducing staff numbers in overhead areas, such as administrative and managerial, while recruiting people in sales and product areas, a BT Group spokesman said.

"BT Ignite expects to reduce its net headcount figure by about 700 over the next 12 months," the spokesman said, adding that if customers notice any effect, it will be for the better. "Like any company we are working to increase efficiency," he said.

BT Ignite has operations throughout Western Europe and employs about 18,000 people. The cuts are part of BT Group's already announced plans to eliminate between 5,000 and 6,000 jobs a year. Future reductions at BT Ignite are expected, the spokesman said.

Last month BT Group set a profit deadline for BT Ignite and said the company should focus on large corporate clients. Those BT Ignite units that aren't making a profit before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization by the end of March 2003 will be closed.

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