Qwest to axe 4,000 jobs

Also cuts down on spending plans

Also cuts down on spending plans

US telecoms outfit Qwest Communications has cut six percent of its workforce - 4,000 jobs - and cut capital spending by $2bn. The company blamed the move on the weakening US economy. Qwest said its wholesale business had suffered as customers held back on spending, and claimed that new customer deals had collapsed. The company cut its forecast for 2001 sales and earnings to $20.5bn and $8bn respectively. In addition, it reduced its capital expenditure estimates for 2001 to $8.5bn from about $8.8bn and cut $2bn from its capital budget in 2002, to only $5.5bn These cuts will hurt telecoms equipment suppliers, such as Nortel Networks and Cisco Systems, but Qwest believes it will be cash flow positive in the second quarter of 2002, two quarters sooner than expected.