France Telecom shines in depressed market

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France Telecom shines in depressed market

France Telecom has bucked the recent gloom in the telecommunications industry to return impressive first-half figures, in spite of a $1.7bn slump in net after selling its stock in the Mexican telecoms company Telmex.

The company reported a net income of $1.65bn (£1.14bn) for the first six months of 2001, compared to $3.38bn for the corresponding period last year.

Jean-Louis Vinciguerra, the chief financial officer of France Telecom, said: "The 2000 results were swollen by the sale of Telmex shares, which would have represented more than $1.7bn at the time."

The company's earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation increased by 14% compared to last year's figures. Earnings per share were returned at 1.74 euros, compared to 3.65 euros in the first half of 2000.

The company's increase in revenue was attributed in part to strong growth in its international business, which now represents about one-third of its total revenues. Sales from its international business benefited from 121% year-on-year growth.

Michel Bon, the company's chairman and chief executive, said: "Is there a crisis in telecoms? Perhaps for the manufacturers, but the economic slowdown is not affecting our sales."

France Telecom's mobile telecommunications subsidiary, Orange SA, benefited from a 115% increase in revenue, up to 7.08bn euros compared to 3.29bn last year.

The company's ISP division, Wanadoo SA, reported revenue of 689m euros, compared to 456m euros for the same period last year, a 51% increase.

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