TeleSpectrum to Cut Staff After Posting Quarterly Loss

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TeleSpectrum Worldwide Inc., King of Prussia, PA, last week announced a quarterly loss for the second time this year and said it would make unspecified staff cuts to improve its financial outlook.


The company -- which did not return calls seeking details of the scope and timing of the cuts -- posted an $8.7 million loss during the third quarter. Revenues for the quarter totaled $73.1 million, down from $86.5 million in the third quarter of 1999, when the company posted a $2.6 million profit.


The company has launched an effort to save $10 million to $15 million per year by cutting staff and reducing operating costs, including telecommunications expenses. TeleSpectrum expects to start realizing the benefits of its cost-cutting program in the first quarter of 2001.


TeleSpectrum purchased Customer Insites Inc., Silver Spring, MD, in February and transformed the company into e-Satisfy.com, its new customer satisfaction unit. During the third quarter, e-Satisfy.com's staff was reduced from 70 to 24 employees.


This year has been marked by financial setbacks for TeleSpectrum, which operates 31 call centers with 6,000 workstations and 9,000 employees in the United States and the United Kingdom. The company confirmed Oct. 31 that its stock had been removed from the Nasdaq listing. On Nov. 1 TeleSpectrum hit a 52-week low of 12.5 cents per share, as listed on the OTC Bulletin Board. It reached a 52-week high of $10.688 on Jan. 6.


In April, TeleSpectrum announced a $3.9 million loss during the first quarter, which it attributed to a low level of outbound telemarketing by some of its major clients during January and February. It also replaced president/CEO Keith E. Alessi with Vincent J. Ciavardini. Alessi became chairman, then resigned in August to become a director as well as to pursue an opportunity in higher education.
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