German business software vendor SAP AG plans to relocate a number of administrative jobs from its German headquarters and European subsidiaries to Prague, in a move aimed at streamlining its operations and reducing costs.

“The plan is to bundle a range of local services in areas such as accounting and human resources and offer these from a central point for the entire European region,” said SAP spokesman Herbert Heitmann. “The consolidation of certain administrative functions that we’re planning for Europe is something we have already implemented in Asia and the Americas.”

SAP operates so-called Shared Service Centers in Singapore, which is responsible for Asia, and Newton Square, Penn., in charge of the Americas.

In a report published Thursday, the German daily newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung quoted an official from the powerful trade union, IG Metall, as saying that SAP planned to shift more than 1,300 jobs to Prague.

“That figure is totally absurd,” Heitmann said, when asked about the IG Metall claim. Less than 100 jobs could be affected in Germany, he said.

In Germany, SAP employs around 13,000 people of whom 8,000 are based in Walldorf, the company’s headquarters, according to Heitmann. “Most of the people in Walldorf are software developers and engineers,” he said. “We have a very slender administration already.”

Of the 2,500 people SAP is hiring this year, 500 are for jobs in Germany, and almost all of these are in sales and product development, the spokesman said.

Heitmann was unable to say how many jobs in SAP’s European subsidiaries will be moved to Prague, or how many people the planned Shared Service Center in the Czech Republic will employ. “We are currently reviewing our entire administrative operations across Europe,” he said. “Although some administrative jobs will remain in each country, we’re clearly interested in consolidating these tasks.”



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