EMI Music Publishing is to close its offices in the Netherlands and Belgium, several well-placed sources have informed Billboard.biz.

The news comes amid media speculation that EMI’s publishing arm is planning to cut a number of senior executive positions across Europe.

Although EMI would not comment on specifics, or confirm or deny closures, a spokesperson for the music major did confirm to Billboard.biz that changes in the publishing division’s European operations were forthcoming.

He declined to comment on reports that EMI Publishing U.K. deputy managing director William Booth was being laid off or on industry speculation that other senior publishing executives in Spain and France are exiting.

“It is very clear to us that the country-based structures that other music companies cling to are not delivering the kind of service that their artists need or the revenues that they deserve,” said the spokesperson, adding that any planned changes to operations were “not about cost-cutting,” but “getting the right structure.”

The spokesperson went on to say, “A functionally-led organization across the entirety of Europe will enable us to deliver further success for our writers on both a regional and local level, and at the same time allow us to invest substantially more money in European music over the next five years.”

Citing changes made throughout 2009 to improve EMI’s “functional capabilities, appointing heads to lead regional A&R, sales, society relations and business affairs,” the spokesperson said the company was “making additional organizational changes to develop our regional effectiveness even further.”

“As a result, we are currently in discussions with a number of people about how their role at the company might be affected moving forward," he went on to say.

The move follows reports last week that EMI Group owner Terra Firma had been in talks with equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) about buying a stake in EMI Music Publishing (Billboard.Biz, May 27/28). KKR already owns 50% of BMG Rights Management.

As previously reported, EMI Music Publishing began restructuring last year in a bid to build European growth. Billboard.biz understands that any forthcoming changes to European operations comprise a further development of that restructuring. According to Billboard.biz’s sources EMI Music Publishing Netherlands office employed less than 10 people while the Belgium arm had only a handful.

EMI would not comment on an expected timeframe for the changes to take place.