Telekom Romania Group, part of the Deutsche Telekom (DT) group, has announced plans to lay off 692 of its 5,831 employees as part of a restructuring process initiated two years ago in response to declining revenues and record losses in 2018. The group will cut 438 positions within Telekom Romania Communications and 254 staff at Telekom Romania Mobile Communications. The company noted the transformation programme is intended to ensure sustainable growth ‘given the high pace of technology evolution, a highly competitive market, as well as global changes of the business models, which affect the technology companies to a greater extent’.
The announcement comes amid speculation DT is planning to dispose of Romanian assets resulting from its ownership of a 45% stake in Greek telco OTE Group, which is the majority shareholder of mobile operator Telekom Romania Mobile Communications and fixed line provider Telekom Romania Communications. According to recent press reports, several potential bidders have expressed an interest in the assets, including RCS&RDS, Orange, Russia’s ER-Telecom and Bulgarian businessman Spas Rusev.
Meanwhile, local media outlet News.ro has claimed Mr Rusev, who is looking to sell his majority holding in Bulgarian telco Vivacom, has emerged as the leading contender to buy Telekom Romania’s mobile division, after submitting a binding offer for the company. However, his connections with Russian and Bulgarian investors and politicians could prove a stumbling block. Former Romanian communications minister Marius Bostan has warned: ‘A sale to a company in Russia or connected to Russia is unacceptable, considering this is critical infrastructure for national security.’