Nortel expands in the Caribbean

Nortel Networks Corp. announced Monday it has opened new offices in Puerto Rico in order to expand its business there, one of the hot spots for the company’s Latin America growth plans. From the new facilities, Nortel plans to extend its business in the rest of the Spanish-speaking Caribbean.

Nortel has operated in Puerto Rico for more than 20 years, and in the last five years has become one of the chief providers of optical networking hardware, wireless, and local Internet access, Nortel said in a statement. The company also offers an enterprise portfolio, including voice, data, Internet telephony and electronic-business software.

Although Nortel has announced plans to lay off 20,000 workers by mid-year, the Spanish-speaking Caribbean will not be affected, officials said. “We have a strong base in Latin America, especially in Puerto Rico, and we believe we will continue to grow as needs arise in the region,” said Ernesto Ortiz, Nortel’s public relations director for Latin America and the Caribbean.

According to Ortiz, Puerto Rico accounts for five per cent to 10 per cent of its Latin America sales, headed by the financial sector and followed by manufacturing, retail and government.

The 30 local employees of the new offices, which will be based in the city of Guaynabo, will offer services including sales, engineering, technical support, finance and administration, Nortel said in the statement.

Ortiz said the new facilities would help Nortel expand its coverage to the Spanish-speaking Caribbean, including the Dominican Republic. When asked about Cuba, he said that the island is not yet included in the company’s plans.

Nortel also serves Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Bolivia, Per