Amaranth Slashes Workforce, Hires Fortress To Sell Assets

Oct 5 2006 | 5:07pm ET

Amaranth HeadquartersAmaranth Advisors, the embattled Greenwich, Conn., hedge fund which lost $6 billion of its $9.5 billion of assets on natural gas investments, is reportedly cutting 60% of its workforce next week. Charlie Winkler, chief operating officer, said in a statement on Thursday that as many as 250 of Amaranth’s 420 workers would be dismissed.

He said: “As a result of the need to reduce our operating expenses, we will have to take the unfortunate step of reducing our team size. We will do everything we can to assist departing employees in finding new employment and are putting in place a process to assist employees in finding new opportunities.”

Amaranth had been busy contacting hedge funds and financial institutions in an effort to find its soon-to-be ex-employees new positions. The hedge fund’s human resources chief, Stanley Friedman, reports Bloomberg News, e-mailed rivals regarding Amaranth’s employees.

“I know many of you have been contacted directly by employees, but more likely by recruiters,” Stanley wrote in the message. “If you work through us, you won’t have a fee associated with your hire.” According to media reports, Amaranth has about 353 people in Greenwich, Conn., 26 in London, 18 in Toronto, 11 in Singapore, nine in Calgary and three in Houston.

Meanwhile, the embattled firm has retained Fortress Investment Group as a sub-advisor to the Amaranth multi-strategy funds. Fortress will assist it in selling off the funds’ investment assets in order to generate liquidity for investors. Amaranth announced last Friday that its multi-strategy funds had suspended redemptions to allow for the sale of the firm’s investment assets. Nick Maounis, Amaranth’s chief executive officer, said in a statement that Amaranth will pay the fees associated with retaining the New York-based Fortress.

Meanwhile, the San Diego County Employee Retirement Association says its Amaranth losses have risen to $105 million.

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