Australia's Seven cuts WesTrac jobs as mine spending slows

SYDNEY Mon Nov 11, 2013 10:59pm EST

SYDNEY Nov 12 (Reuters) - Australia's Seven Group Holdings said it was cutting an additional 630 jobs in its WesTrac heavy machinery unit, adding that the tough conditions in mining and construction markets meant earnings would be at the lower end of guidance.

WesTrac and global peers including Caterpillar Inc and Cummins Inc have been hit by a slowdown in capital spending by resource companies as a boom in commodity prices cools.

Seven Group, the owner of the Seven TV network as well as Caterpillar dealer WesTrac, said the difficult market conditions meant it expected full-year underlying earnings before interest and tax to be at the lower end of its August guidance of 30-40 percent below last year's figure.

"WesTrac has implemented a series of efficiency and productivity initiatives over the past twelve months in an effort to streamline its cost base, but these measures alone have not been sufficient in view of continuing challenging market conditions," Seven said in a statement.

The company had previously announced plans to cut 375 jobs. WesTrac will have around 3,350 staff after the latest cuts.

Shares in Seven, controlled by billionaire Kerry Stokes, were up 0.5 percent at A$7.75, down from a year high of A$11.69 in March. (Reporting by Lincoln Feast; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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