January 21, 2015 / 12:16 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-MTN says to reorganise its S.African business unit

* MTN did not say how many staff affected

* Shares down 8 pct so far this year (Adds quote, detail)

JOHANNESBURG, Jan 21 (Reuters) - Africa’s largest telecoms provider plans to restructure its home market’s enterprise business segment, it said on Wednesday, as competition squeezes revenue in its key South African unit.

The Johannesburg-based telecoms giant with operations in 22 nations in Africa and the Middle East said in a statement that it had informed employees who were likely to be affected by the reorganisation at a meeting held on Wednesday.

MTN said the restructuring aims at strengthening its competitive advantage, but did not say how many staff could be affected.

“As part of the process, consultations with all employees were held today, in keeping with relevant employment legislation. Employee engagements within MTN Business are expected to continue over the coming weeks,” MTN said.

Last year, MTN said it would lay off some of its managers in South Africa where sales have been under pressure following stiff competition from players such as Vodacom and unlisted Cell C.

MTN is also fighting to retain customers in its biggest market Nigeria, where it is facing an onslaught from other players such as India’s Bharti Airtel.

MTN shares are down more than 8 percent so far this year. Those of Vodacom, which is the leading operator in South Africa, are up nearly 2.5 percent. (Reporting by Peroshni Governder; Writing by Helen Nyambura-Mwaura; Editing by James Macharia)

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