WorldCom Inc. may announce as early as today plans to lay off up to 6,000 workers to cut costs and help the company emerge from bankruptcy protection later this year.
The layoffs would come just months after 17,000 workers lost their jobs last year. A spokesman declined to comment yesterday on the company's plans. It was not clear if WorldCom's 4,000 workers in the Washington area would be affected by the layoffs.
WorldCom, based in Clinton, Miss., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in July after it revealed massive accounting irregularities that allowed it to appear profitable even though it was losing money. The company, in a recent report, said it may have improperly accounted for as much as $9 billion during a three-year period beginning in 1999.
The nation's second largest long-distance phone company is no longer making interest payments on $40 billion in debt and it is losing nearly $200 million a month.
WorldCom's new chief executive, Michael Capellas, is seeking ways to cut costs as revenue declines. Like many long-distance phone companies in recent years, WorldCom has faced declining prices and more competition. Capellas has come up with a 100-day plan that set a goal of reducing costs by 4 percent.
WorldCom is also dealing with the aftermath of dozens of bad investments it made during the 1990s while acquiring companies. The company announced last month that it expects to write down up to $50 billion in intangible assets such as soured investments in other firms. WorldCom has also said that it may take a significant charge on its property and equipment, now valued at $32 billion.
The company has until mid-April to file its restructuring plan with a federal bankruptcy court in New York, which is overseeing its case. Capellas has said that he is on track to meet the deadline.