EMI Belgium will axe 16 of its 49-strong work force as part of the major's worldwide restructuring. Staffers at the Brussels-based company were told yesterday of the downsizing.

EMI Belgium will axe 16 of its 49-strong work force as part of the major's worldwide restructuring. Staffers at the Brussels-based company were told yesterday of the downsizing.

Erwin Goegebeur, managing director of EMI Music Belgium, describes the decision as "a painful economical reality."

Capitol and Virgin in Belgium will cease to exist as stand-alone operations. The combined marketing of both Capitol and Virgin will now be handled by Guus Fluit, who steps up from Capitol Belgium GM to marketing director international/local repertoire. Virgin Belgium GM Dis Huyghe has exited.

By the end of the summer, the Belgian and Dutch affiliates of EMI/Virgin will share administration services.

"The fact that some of our labels will be joined, results in a number of jobs disappearing. But I'm convinced that having both Capitol and Virgin under one umbrella will strengthen us," adds Goegebeur.

EMI Belgium says it will maintain its local talent roster, traditionally Belgium's biggest and most successful stable of domestic talent. "Despite the slim-down of our company, we continue to believe in local talent, no blood shed here," says Goegebeur. The company's 23-act local roster includes Clouseau, Kate Ryan, Laïs, Marc Moulin and Dana Winner and veterans Raymond van het Groenewoud and Jan Dewilde.