Monday, April 27, 2009

Thailand: TT&T, a provincial operator and ISP, facing financial difficulties is dismissing 10% of its workforce

[Bangkok Post] T&T Plc, the provincial telephone and internet provider, is laying off 10% of its total employees and relocating 700 staff to its broadband arm Triple T Broadband.

The moves were necessary to deal with the worsening economic situation, employees were told, according to a staff member who asked not to be named.

A dozen laid-off employees, meanwhile, claim that some of the 400 staff who were laid off had been targeted because they disagreed with the company's debt rehabilitation process.

One employee who was told of the relocation said that he had been forced to join Triple T Broadband for fear of becoming jobless.

Creditors of TT&T, meanwhile, see the staff relocations as a strategic defensive move, saying it would help reduce future risks of losing control of operations if the company fails to be approved as the planner of its own debt rehabilitation.

"Relocating key manpower in the position of area directors to Triple T Broadband is simply transferring valuable know-how to a high-growth, income-earning company," said a creditor who asked not to be named.

Executives of TT&T and its parent, Jasmine International Plc, were not available for comment.

The Central Bankruptcy Court earlier this month rejected TT&T as the proposed planner, and ordered the company to hold a creditors' meeting again to vote for a rehabilitation planner.

The order came after the Legal Execution Department approved TT&T as the planner to prepare the 19.87-billion-baht debt rehabilitation plan. The department's decision was supported by TOT Plc, the state telecom enterprise that holds TT&T's concession.

One creditor said the staff relocation would not be good for TT&T as it was in a transition period. Creditors would also be at disadvantage because they lacked background in telecoms and specialists to operate the business if they ended up overseeing the rehabilitation.

TT&T holds only a 9% stake in Triple T Broadband, with the other 91% held by Jasmine International Plc.

Triple T, with 10 million baht in registered capital, previously was wholly owned by TT&T. But TT&T failed to inject money into the company when it needed to raise its capital to 110 million baht, resulting in Jasmine becoming the major shareholder.

The source said TT&T was on the verge of radically overhauling the broadband business structure in an effort to allow Jasmine International to fully control the unit.

TT&T's net loss widened last year to 2.93 billion baht, from 2.03 billion in 2007. It expects to more losses this year, because of its high interest burden and depreciation costs. But Triple T Broadband posted a net profit of 500 million baht in the first quarter of this year.

TT&T laying off and shifting staff

No comments: