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Ax Falls at Level 3 Again

The broadband wholesaler looks to cut another 1,100 people from its ranks.

The ax is swinging at

Level 3


again as Wall Street braces for another report of steep quarterly losses.

As many as 1,100 people, or about 16% of the company's workforce, is expected to be cut from the staff, according to people familiar with the company's plan.

Level 3 representatives were not available for immediate comment.

Word of yet another round of firings comes as Level 3 prepares to release its fourth-quarter earnings report Thursday.

The cuts would fit a pattern for the company. In the past two years, Level 3 has cut 2,200 employees as it tries to trim costs and staff after acquiring five companies including

WilTel, Progress Telecom, ICG Communications, TelCove


Looking Glass


Level 3 operates a vast communications network and sells capacity at wholesale to outfits like


(CMCSA) - Get Free Report



(AT) - Get Free Report

as well as government agencies. But heavy spending on network expansion and maintenance has yet to be offset by revenue growth or the prospect of profit.

In October, Level 3 dashed investors' hopes that the company was on the path to pull out of its persistent losses. The Bloomfield, Colo. telco cut its forecast for adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) for the full year 2007 to about $823 million from a previous target of to $890 million.

Analysts are expecting Level 3 to post an adjusted loss of 11 cents a share on sales of $1.08 billion on Thursday.