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Pannon GSM to lay off 250 people

Telenor unit Pannon GSM, Hungary's second-biggest mobile telephone service provider, plans to lay off 250 people, including 200 employees and 50 contracted workers, the company told MTI on Friday.

Pannon wants to cut payroll costs by HUF 1.9 billion in 2010 with the layoffs, which are part of a HUF 3 billion cost-cutting program. The savings will serve to maintain investments in product and service developments, as well as spur growth, particularly in the mobile broadband segment.

Pannon had EBITDA of HUF 73.4 billion in 2009, HUF 3.6 billion less than in 2008, CEO Anders Jensen said on Wednesday. Pannon's revenue fell HUF 11.3 billion to HUF 177 billion in 2009. Revenue fell “against a background of rising unemployment and pressure on consumer spending” and reflected “the long term trend of lower mobile termination charges and handset revenues, but also a temporarily decline in retail voice revenues reflecting current harsh economic environment,” the company said.

Revenue from mobile broad band services jumped 87%. Pannon controls 29.4% of Hungary's mobile internet market, but it aims to take the top spot, Jensen said. (MTI-Econews)