Staff being axed at 4Com PLC, the UK’s ‘top company to work for’ (From Bournemouth Echo)

THE Dorset company named the best place to work in the UK is making staff redundant.

Christchurch-based telecommunications firm 4Com PLC has not revealed how many jobs are at risk, but sources have suggested the number is 45-50.

The company, which had more than 300 staff, reported a pre-tax loss of £1million for the year ending June 30, 2016. It had made a pre-tax profit of £892,000 the year before.

A statement from 4Com said yesterday: “4Com can confirm that we have entered into a period of consultation with regard to a small number of redundancies.

“This consultation comes as we undertake a management restructure across the company, having conducted a complete business review. As this period of consultation is ongoing, we will not be making further comment at this time out of respect to those involved.”

4Com topped this year’s Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For in the main list for medium-sized businesses. Company chairman Daron Hutt collected the award from TV personality Ben Shephard.

Most of the company’s staff are in its head office at Aviation Park West, but others are in sales, installation and maintenance across the country.

Despite a final loss of £982,000 last year, the company declared a dividend of £3million in 2016, up from £1.89m the previous year. Directors’ remuneration totalled £1.29m, with the highest paid director earning £378,000.

The directors’ report filed with 4Com’s accounts last year put the losses down to the planned costs of investment and the launch of a new device.

4Com launched its own desktop phone that year, offering features usually seen in a smartphone or tablet, such as an internet browser, smart apps and video calling. The phone – the product of a hardware programme that began in 2012 – was launched in the first quarter of the year and 923 handsets had been installed by June 30.

The directors’ report mentioned “significant cash outflows during the year related to the planned and fully costed investment in the group’s new product development programme, the launch of the IP desktop telephone and payments to the Chinese manufacturer according to the minimum order level agreement for initial stocking.”

Chairman Daron Hutt founded the company in Salisbury in 1999.

In 2014, it established the 4Com Foundation, which has raised more than £200,000 for charity.

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