Ferry operator Stena Line is axing its UK PR department in a bid to restore profitability.
Faced with loss of revenue through the abolition of duty free shopping within the EU and more competition from low-cost airlines, the troubled ferry arm of Sweden's Stena Group is to shut its Ashford, Kent-based PR unit.
In a memo to UK staff from CEO Bo Severed, the company outlined its shift to a route-based structure, which will grant route managers responsibility for their own PR. 'We have to reduce cost to build back profitability,'the memo said.
Stena Group founder Dan Sten Olsson is taking the listed ferry arm of his business back into private ownership, removing the need for a financial PR and investor relations service aimed at the City.
Two UK staff will lose their jobs. Communications manager Sue Kirk - who has been with the company or its predecessor for 20 years - is considering offers, while deputy Sam Bianchi is understood to have found a job in the Ashford area.
Neither would comment on the issue, but both are understood to feel that the firm's public position - that it shall continue to provide media contacts with 'as good a service as previously' - is likely to prove a vain hope.