Australia's Telstra to cut 800 jobs at directory business

SYDNEY Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:39pm EST

SYDNEY Feb 19 (Reuters) - Telstra Corp Ltd will cut up to 800 jobs as it restructures its directories unit Sensis into a digital business, Australia's largest telecommunications provider said on Wednesday.

"We need to remain responsive to the changing media landscape," Sensis managing director John Allan said in a statement. Telestra is trying to grow its digital presence and Sensis is facing stiff competition from mobile and online search directories.

In January, Telstra agreed to sell 70 percent of Sensis to U.S.-based private equity firm Platinum Equity for A$454 million ($410 million), less than the market had expected.

Telstra, which posted a 9.7 percent rise in first-half net profit last week, retains the remaining 30 percent of directories business. Sensis publishes print and online directories including the White Pages and the Yellow Pages.

The job cuts at Sensis comes after data showed Australia's jobless rate jumped to a decade high of 6 percent in January, which has intensified concerns about an already sluggish labour market as global car makers prepare to pull out of Australia.

Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corp announced last week it would stop manufacturing in Australia by 2017, following Ford and the Holden unit of General Motors.

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