Zurich-based reinsurance giant Swiss Re announced a major restructuring that it says will simplify the organization, increase its focus on profitable core business and strengthen its capital position.

“In line with Swiss Re’s focus on profitable core reinsurance business, the company will continue to explore opportunities to free up capital in order to deploy it to the most profitable business segments,” the company said in a statement.

To achieve this, the company said it would reduce its current global headcount of 11,560 by approximately 10% over the next year. To achieve economies of scale, Swiss Re also plans to streamline its network of worldwide offices and consolidate support resources into fewer locations.

The cost-cutting moves come on the heels of a tough fiscal year for the company. Battered by investment losses, the company announced a net loss for 2008. In February, it said it had secured a $3 billion equity stake from Omaha, Neb.-based Berkshire Hathaway.

In today’s announcement, Swiss Re now says it will now “concentrate on conservatively managing the assets generated through reinsurance activities, and continue de-risking the investment portfolio.”

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