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Tough market shrinks WorldCom figures

US telecoms company WorldCom has posted a loss for its first quarter, pointing to a decline in business from corporate customers...

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US telecoms company WorldCom has posted a loss for its first quarter, pointing to a decline in business from corporate customers who are suffering in a weak economy.

WorldCom, comprising the company's Internet services businesses as well as corporate telephone and international businesses, reported a net income of $184m (£127m) for the quarter ended 31 March, which included a $90m (£62m) after-tax charge associated with the disposition of investments.

Last year's net income for the same quarter was $532m (£366m).

Revenue for the quarter was $5.1bn (£3.5bn), a 2% decline from the same period a year ago. Data and Internet services revenues fell by about 1% to $2.75bn (£1.89bn), while revenue from the company's voice business dropped 12% on a 2.5% decrease in calling volume.

WorldCom said the telecoms services market was still "unpredictable," and forecast full-year revenue for 2002 of between $21bn (£14.46bn) to $21.5bn (£14.8bn).

WorldCom's MCI group, the long-distance and consumer-services division spun out last year as a tracking stock, posted a first quarter net loss of $54m (£37m).

WorldCom was able to cut its net debt in the first quarter by $903m (£622m) to $27.9bn (£19.2bn), the company said.

Earlier this month, WorldCom said it was cutting 3,700 jobs from its data services division.

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