Canwest to cut 5% of its work force

Newspaper and TV units face 560-job reduction

TORONTO -- Canwest Global Communications Corp., Canada's largest media company, on Wednesday announced plans to cut 560 jobs, or 5% of its work force, as it cuts operating costs amid a deteriorating advertising market.

The Winnipeg, Manitoba-based company, which will post its fourth-quarter earnings Friday, made broad cuts at its TV and newspaper operations in a bid to achieve CAN$61 million in annual savings.

"Having completed an assessment of our Canadian operations and, after careful consideration, we are implementing a number of initiatives that will provide savings that will allow us to better compete in the current economic environment, without compromising our core products and services," Canwest president and CEO Leonard Asper said in a statement.

Peter Murdoch, vp media for the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, which represents Canwest employees, said he expects more job cuts to come as the media group tries to support a collapsed share price and a $3.7 billion debt load.

Canwest Global shares slid 7% on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Wednesday to CAN$0.84 (68 cents), well off a 52-week high of $8.28.

In addition to its two conventional TV networks, Canwest Global operates 26 cable channels, including 13 in partnership with Goldman Sachs & Co., and operates a string of newspapers and Internet assets across Canada.

In Australia, Canwest Global holds a 56% stake in TEN Television Network, and it also runs radio stations in Turkey.
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