Telstra chief optimistic about growth

Telstra CEO Ziggy Switkowski said today the telco expects growth of at least 7 per cent in its wireless business over the next financial year.

Describing his forecast as "mildly optimistic", Switkowski said growth could reach up to 13 per cent.

Telstra expects to produce growth in earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) of around 5.5 per cent from its core businesses in 2000/01.

Earlier today Telstra withdrew its contentious plans to sell its Network Design and Construction (NDC) subsidiary, but opposition communications spokesman Stephen Smith warned the proposal could still go ahead.

The NDC sale was expected to bring in between $300 million and $500 million, but in a statement Telstra said it was withdrawn in the interests of the company's customers, shareholders and employees.

Smith claims 650 workers had lost their jobs as Telstra prepared to sell NDC.

He said if the Government won this year's Federal election, Telstra would be encouraged to sell NDC at the earliest possible opportunity.

"Both NDC's employees and Australians generally know that the Howard-Anderson Government is continuing with the ideological obsession with the full privatisation of Telstra," he said.

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