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Telecom unveils trans-Tasman structure

By Phil Boeyen, ShareChat Business News Editor

Monday 27th November 2000

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Telecom (NZSE: TEL) has moved quickly to join its New Zealand operations with its newly acquired AAPT business in Australia, announcing two newly merged businesses and replacing the current AAPT boss with a Telecom executive.

Under the restructuring Telecom's new internet business will merge its New Zealand-based Xtra service and Telecom Directories with AAPT's connect.com.au and will be run out of Sydney by Telecom's GM Internet Services, Graham Mitchell.

Telecom's GM Mobile, Mohan Jesudason, will lead the combined Telecom-AAPT mobile unit and will remain based in Wellington.

AAPT gets a new chief operating officer, Telecom's former GM Networks, David Bedford, who will also be based in Sydney and takes over from acting AAPT boss, Ron Nissen, who is leaving to pursue other business interests.

Earlier today The Australian newspaper reported that Mr Nissen would not be staying with AAPT because he wants to pursue a CEO role rather than working for the New Zealand telco.

The Australian newspaper also flagged this morning's restructuring announcement from Telecom with the suggestion that the changes are the first step in a possible break-up of the company.

Given that the whole point of the AAPT takeover is to grow Telecom into a major Australasian telco, today's restructuring announcement should come as no surprise as the company seeks immediate synergies from its trans-Tasman acquisition.

Telecom CEO, Theresa Gattung, says the enlarged Telecom group will include six business units including the Australian-based units of AAPT and TCNZ Australia, the Internet and Mobile operating on both sides of the Tasman, and the New Zealand-based units of Telecom Sales & Service and esolutions.

"Bringing the businesses together in this way will enable us to capture synergies between them and drive growth across the group overall."

Ms Gattung says the integration of Telecom and AAPT is ongoing, with more key decisions on systems, processes, branding and other matters to be made over the next few months.

Today's announcement of a joint mobile business will also allow the telco to make a more cohesive bid for the mobile business of Australia's Cable & Wireless Optus, which is looking for written expressions of interest in the business before Christmas.

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