France Télécom first half revenue up 33.3 percent

France Télécom SA's first-half revenue rose 33.3 percent compared to last year, the company announced Thursday.

Revenue rose to 20.4 billion euros (US$17.3 billion, as of June 30, the last day of the period being reported) from 15.33 billion euros in the first half of last yearExcluding the effects of consolidations and exchange rates, revenue grew a more sedate 7.9 percent, slightly higher than the 7.7 percent growth recorded in the first six months of 2000, France Télécom said in a statement.

The company limits its half-year report to revenue figures. Earnings are only announced annually.

Revenue from France Télécom's international operations reached 6.9 billion euros and accounted for about one-third of the company's total revenue, compared with 20 percent in the year ago period, according to the statement.

The number of customers of companies in which France Télécom has a controlling stake increased from 59.8 million last year to 86 million, the company said.

Mobile communications, Internet and corporate networks have become increasingly important for France Télécom, accounting now for 60 percent of the company's revenue, according to a company statement.

Mobile subsidiary Orange SA contributed 6.94 billion euros to France Télécom's consolidated revenue, up 122.4 percent compared to the first half of 2000. The jump reflects the inclusion of the former Orange PLC, acquired last year, in the figures.

Wanadoo SA, the ISP (Internet service provider) arm, generated revenue of 642 million euros, up 49 percent. Revenue from British ISP Freeserve PLC, acquired by Wanadoo late last year, is now included in France Télécom's statement.

France Télécom's international voice and data services revenue grew 17.6 percent to 2.86 billion euros. The company said its fixed line business did especially well in Spain and El Salvador, while wireless services were hot in Egypt and Lebanon. The growth figure includes the full consolidation of Global One Communications Inc. into France Télécom.

Domestic revenue declined 0.2 percent on a comparable basis, largely due to lower domestic and international call rates for fixed line customers, although consolidated revenue rose 6.9 percent. There was growth in corporate networks and online services, France Télécom said.

For the full year France Télécom expects to meet is target year-on-year revenue growth of in excess of 25 percent.

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