UPDATE 3-Corzine slashing staff at MF Global amid losses

* Workforce to be cut 10-15 percent

* Adj Q4 loss 17 cents/share vs Street view profit 1 cent

* Q4 net revenue $240.5 mln vs year-ago $257.1 mln

* Shares up 1 pct in morning trading (Updates with additional comments from Corzine, details on results, share move, analyst comment)

By Steve Eder

NEW YORK, May 20 (Reuters) - Jon Corzine, the new chief executive of MF Global Holdings Ltd MF.N, said the futures and options broker would cut its workforce by up to 15 percent as it looks to stem five straight quarters of losses.

Corzine’s cost-cutting goal came as MF Global reported quarterly results that fell short of analysts’ expectations. The company’s shares fell sharply in premarket trading before rebounding.

In a series of moves to rein in costs, MF Global said it would reduce staff by 10 percent to 15 percent in the current quarter, freeze new hiring, reduce compensation, and eliminate or postpone initiatives that are not central to the company’s direction. MF Global has a workforce of about 3,200.

"We are taking decisive action to fundamentally improve the earnings profile of this company," Corzine, a former New Jersey governor and a one-time Goldman Sachs Group Inc GS.N chief executive, said in a statement.

MF Global could see net benefits of $59 million to $75 million, or 22 cents to 28 cents per share, from cost-cutting in 2011, according to an analyst note from Ticonderoga Securities.

Corzine was named chief executive in March, succeeding Bernard Dan, who the company said resigned for personal reasons after holding the job for less than two years.

Corzine said financial regulatory reform efforts could be a boon to MF Global, especially as they zero in on the importance of exchange-traded clearing arrangements -- one of MF Global’s strengths.

The company’s shares were up 8 cents, or 1 percent, to $8.20 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.


Corzine, who initiated a broad review of MF Global’s businesses when he took over seven weeks ago, called the company’s fourth-quarter results “completely unacceptable.”

For the quarter, ended March 31, New York-based MF Global on Thursday posted net losses to common shareholders of $96.5 million, or 78 cents per share, compared with a loss of $119.3 million, or 98 cents per share, a year earlier.

Net revenue fell to $240.5 million from $257.1 million.

The adjusted loss per share was 17 cents, missing analysts’ average forecast of a profit of 1 cent, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

“Going forward, these are not the kind of results that MF Global management will tolerate, nor should its shareholders,” Corzine said during a call for investors.

Analyst Ed Ditmire of Macquarie Capital said in a research note that MF Global was “the only company in our market structure coverage universe which is unprofitable.”

Ditmire did say there was hope ahead, noting the revenue outlook for the current quarter appears to be “very strong” in light of “surging global futures volumes ... and a doubling of our key spread indicator for MF’s principal trading business.”

Corzine said that as profitability returns, the company will look to engage in more principal risk-taking.

MF Global’s results have been hampered in recent quarters by declines in interest income and higher interest expenses. (Reporting by Steve Eder; editing by John Wallace)