Fool.com: France Telecom First-Half Revenue Growth Strong (Breakfast News) August 12, 1999

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Thursday, August 12, 1999

"It is easy to be brave when far away from danger."
-- Aesop

France Telecom First-Half Revenue Growth Strong

By Dave Marino-Nachison (TMF Braden)

France Telecom (NYSE: FTE), Europe's number-two telephone company, this morning reported strong first-half revenues as demand for international, cellular, and data services boomed.

Total revenue came to 85.24 billion francs, up 9.2% from last year's mark.

Mobile telecommunications service revenues, at 15.3 million francs representing 43% growth over last year's numbers, were by far the company's largest growth driver. Information services sales rose nearly 18% to 4.1 billion francs for the first half; leased-line and data transmission revenues, along with fixed-line telephony services, reported only low-single-digit percentage gains.

And while French business still accounted for nearly 90% of the company's total business for the first six months of 1999, that figure fell from 92% last year as international revenues jumped more than 41% to 8.9 billion francs.

France Telecom is locked in a struggle for European dominance with Germany's Deutsche Telekom (NYSE: DT), which last week said it will acquire U.K. mobile phone company One 2 One from Cable & Wireless PLC (NYSE: CWP) and MediaOne Group (NYSE: UMG).

But France Telecom might be narrowing the gap thanks to its emphasis on growing Internet-related and mobile revenues. Deutsche Telekom's first-half revenues and net income both fell approximately 5%.

News to Go

Drugmaker American Home Products (NYSE: AHP), just last week hit with a $23 million judgment from a Texas jury over health problems in connection with its discontinued fen-phen diet drug cocktail, was told yesterday told by the plaintiffs' attorney in a class-action lawsuit in New Jersey that it should pay to monitor the health of the state's former users of the drug -- even those without symptoms of the heart problems studies have linked to the drug.

John Bogle, founder of the Vanguard mutual fund company, will retire from the company's board at the end of the year to comply with a policy requiring directors to step down in December of the year that they turn 70. Bogle stepped down as chairman last year.

Biopharmaceutical company Aviron (Nasdaq: AVIR) said it will continue testing of its investigational vaccine against Epstein-Barr Virus, a cause of mononucleosis, after first-phase clinical trials showed it to be safe. "Although the study was not designed to evaluate the efficacy of the vaccine," the company said, "laboratory tests showed evidence of immune response in vaccine recipients."

Movie theater company AMC Entertainment (NYSE: AEN) said fiscal Q1 losses (before a charge) were $0.48, well below last year's $0.13 loss but ahead of Wall Street's projected $0.56 loss. AMC opened three new megaplexes with a total of 84 screens during the quarter, closing 20 multiplexes with 135 screens.

Charlotte-based personal telecommunications products and systems company Glenayre Technologies (Nasdaq: GEMS) said plans to sell its Quincy, Ill., facility to electronics manufacturing services provider Solectron Corp. (NYSE: SLR) have been terminated.

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