《经济学家》读译参考 Translated & Edited by Chen Jilong
Page PAGE 3 of NUMPAGES 3
Nov 9th 2006 | SYDNEY
From The Economist print edition
THE embattled chief executive of Telstra, Sol Trujillo, helped pay his way through college in America by playing the trumpet in his family's Mariachi band. But his past 16 months as the head of Australia's biggest telecoms firm have seen him reaching for the violin. His sorrowful refrain has become as familiar to fund managers in Sydney as it is to policy wonks in Canberra. Mr Trujillo bemoans an overbearing government which is both his firm's main shareholder and its regulator.
（1）In recent months, Mr Trujillo has grappled with the government over board nominations; his A$8.7m ($6.7m) pay packet; and, most seriously, a thicket of regulations designed to ensure that the former monopoly continues to provide rural telephone services across a vast country with the world's sixth-largest landmass but only the 52nd-largest population. Even the flashy launch of Telstra's advanced third-generation mobile-phone network, completed months ahead of schedule, struck an awkwardly discordant note. As Mr Trujillo strutted his stuff on stage, a sprinkler malfunctioned, dousing his audience in foul-smelling water.
It is hardly the ideal background for a share offering called T3, the third and final phase of Telstra's partial privatisation, a drawn-out affair which began in 1997. At the T2 offering in 1999, in the midst of the telecoms boom, Telstra shares sold for A$7.40. Now they are trading at A$3.97. Over the same period, the Australian stockmarket has grown by some 93%.
（2）Burned by the T2 offering, many of the 1.6m retail investors who bought shares last time around have shied away, despite a variety of sweeteners to lure them back—not least a 28% dividend on the A$2 first instalment. But as the deadline to apply for shares passed on November 9th, it appeared that wealthier retail investors had offset this weakness in demand, seemingly confident they are being offered decent value for money. Better still, there has also been a positive response from institutional investors in advance of their own offer, which opens on November 15th.
It is a timely vote of confidence in Mr Trujillo's five-year transformation plan. （3）A veteran of the telecoms industry who earned his spurs at US West in America and then at Orange, a European mobile operator, Mr Trujillo has set about drastically streamlining a famously unwieldy corporation. With the help of hired guns from his previous firms—three senior executives were drafted in from US West—he is trying to eliminate 80% of Telstra's 1,252 separate computer systems. He has also laid off 12,000 of the firm's 52,000 employees.
这是对特鲁西略为期五年的转型规划及时投出的一张信任票。特鲁西略在电信业界资格很老，曾先后在美国US West和欧洲移动电话运营商Orange功成名就，现在已着手对一家以难管理著称的刺头公司进行大刀阔斧的精简。在从其以前就职的公司中雇请的“职业杀手”——三名从US West招募来的高级管理人员的帮助下，他正试图将Telstra现有的1252套分立式计算机系统缩减80％，并且已经解雇了52000名员工中的12000人。
Customer service has improved, too. （4）Much to the surprise of Telstra's long-suffering customers, technicians now make calls in the evenings and at weekends, a revolutionary change. Most arrive dressed in cheery fluorescent yellow bibs, trumpeting BigPond, the company's market-leading broadband service. Telstra claims it is well positioned to offer customers all kinds of whizzy new services across a range of platforms. “Transformation is well on track,” says Greg Canavan, an analyst at Fat Prophets in Sydney. “The big wild card is regulation.”
Regulation is Mr Trujillo's main gripe with the government. In August Telstra abandoned a flagship project to build a high-speed fibre-optic network in the country's five largest cities after a poisonous regulatory dispute with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. Agreement could not be reached on how much the company could charge competitors for access to its new network. Telstra grumbles that it is forced to offer rivals, such as Optus, cheaper access to its networks in cities than in rural areas. This places Telstra at a disadvantage when competing for profitable urban customers.
Despite the wrangling with regulators, Telstra's shares are trading at their highest in six months. They are still below A$5.02, where they stood when Mr Trujillo took over in July 2005. （5）But Telstra's transformation is clearly starting to impress investors—cause, perhaps, for a modest toot on the trumpet.
1. refrain n. part of a song or poem that is repeated, especially at the end of each verse副歌，副句（诗）
2.strut one’s stuff to show one’s skill at doing something, especially dancing or performing大显身手
3. douse v. 浸湿
4. earn/win one’s spurs to show that you deserve to succeed because you have the right skills 通过自己的能力获得，实至名归
5. unwieldy adj. 难以控制的，难处理的
6. bib n.围脖，围裙
7. wild card 1）a playing card that can represent any other card 百搭牌
2）someone whose behaviour or effect on a situation is difficult to guess未知因素";