Primus, Dodo owner M2 sacks 100



news M2 Group has revealed plans to make about 100 staff redundant as it finishes digesting recent major Internet service provider acquisitions such as Dodo, Primus and Eftel, stating that the positions are not necessary in the newly merged business.

In a statement today, the listed company said it wishes to announce what it called a “partial restructure of its business as a consequence of acquisitions completed in May 2013”. “Following an extensive period of review, the Company’s integration program has identified a number of roles across administration, customer service and sales which are redundant in the merged business,” M2 said.

“These changes affect approximately 100 team members, each of whom have been or will be consulted with over the coming days to explore opportunities for redeployment within the Company. Where redeployment is not possible or not of interest to a team member, redundancies may occur. In addition to receiving their full entitlements, those team members will be offered access to support services.”

“We take this decision and the impact on our team very seriously.” said M2 CEO, Geoff Horth, “This was a carefully-considered and difficult decision. We place a high value on our team so today we are committed to spending time with affected team members and we will be working over the course of this week to explore all possible avenues for redeployment.”

M2 has emerged over the past several years as one of the fastest-growing telcos in Australia’s telecommunications sector, with acquisition being the main method which the company has been employing to put on scale and compete with larger rivals.

The company made headlines in April 2012 when it unexpectedly revealed it would buy the Australian operations of Primus Telecom. At that stage, M2 already operated the Commander, People Telecom, M2 Telecom, M2 Wholesale, Southern Cross Telco, GreenMobiles and Simply Mobiles brands.

The acquisition delivered M2 about 165,000 customer contracts, (comprising a mix of residential, SME, corporate and wholesale customers), power over the iPrimus and Primus brands in Australia, some 500 staff, and a significant amount of telecommunications infrastructure, including datacentres and metropolitan fibre network infrastructure. Primus also had about 286 DSLAMs deployed in telephone exchanges around Australia.

Subsequently, in March this year M2 bought another couple of sizable ISPs in the form of Dodo and Eftel. Dodo had over 400,000 customers and some 660,000 active Internet services, as well as more than 45,000 active energy customers. In comparison, Eftel had over 130,000 active Internet services, and had previously bought a number of other businesses, such as the October 2012 purchase of broadband and VoIP company Engin.

The acquisitions made M2 one of the largest ISPs in Australia, behind Telstra, Optus and iiNet and approaching somewhere near TPG.

The news comes as other major technology businesses in Australia are also known to be cutting staff. The ABC reported last week that IBM was set to cut up to 1000 local roles, and Telstra is also engaged in a round of redundancies at the moment. Optus has also been recently cutting jobs.