WorldCom Plans 10% Workforce Reduction

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WorldCom

(WCOM)

reportedly plans another round of layoffs amid a prolonged telecommunications slump and a federal inquiry into its accounting practices.

The Clinton, Miss., company could announce as early as Wednesday that it is cutting 10% of its 75,000 workers,

The Wall Street Journal

reported. Worldcom, the No. 2 long-distance provider, cut 7,000 jobs in March 2001 and 2,000 more later in the year.

Employees who lose their jobs in this latest round will be offered severance pay ranging from six weeks of salary up to six months of pay depending on seniority, a person familiar with the plans told the newspaper.

The company's shares were losing 19 cents, or 2.8%, to $6.59 in Instinet premarket trading.

Separately,

WorldCom-MCI

(MCIT)

said it plans to redeem $700 million of 6.125% convertible/redeemable notes due 2012.

WorldCom said it had more than $2.2 billion in cash and cash equivalents as of March 31, up from $1.4 billion at Dec. 31, 2001. Its debt level was essentially unchanged from year-end at $30 billion, and the company has no bank debt or commercial paper outstanding, it said.