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BT share price: Global services unit planning to cut customer base

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BT Group’s (LON:BT.A) international business is intending to shed more than 80 percent of its customers, the Financial Times has revealed. The blue-chip telco, which was rocked by an accounting scandal at its Italian division in 2016, is separately preparing to offload one of Britain’s biggest fleet management operations, according to Sky News.

BT’s share price has slipped marginally into the red in today’s session, having inched 0.14 percent lower to 253.80p as of 14:40 GMT. The stock is outperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index currently standing 0.45 percent lower at 7,073.52 points.

Global services unit to trim customer base

The FT reported yesterday that Bas Burger, who was promoted to run BT’s Global Services in May last year in the wake of the accounting scandal, was planning to slim down the business, selling off its array of local networks and reducing its customer base from 5,200 companies to the 800 biggest and most profitable.

“We will become a smaller company, leaner and partnership-driven,” he told the newspaper, adding that he had been shocked by the Italian scandal and had led a process to improve controls across BT’s international operations.

Blue-chip telco could offload fleet division

In a separate development, Sky News reported on Friday that BT had appointed investment bank Lazard to undertake an auction of the telco’s fleet management arm which directly owns 33,000 predominantly BT and Openreach-branded vehicles. The newswire noted that while the process is still  in its early stages, a disposal could yield a price tag of £200 million or more.

The news comes as BT prepares for a change at the top, with Philip Jansen due to replace Gavin Patterson as chief executive in the new year.

As of 14:56 GMT, Monday, 12 November, BT Group plc share price is 254.85p.

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