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France Telecom forced to release Orange results early

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France Telecom has been forced to release the bare details of its half-year results after a leak told of the group's earnings. The biggest surprise came with a 102 per cent jump in earnings before interest, tax etc for subsidiary Orange to just over £1 billion.

This was well above expectations and saw the mobile operator's share price leap more than six per cent this morning. It has since settled down at 481p - up 5.3 per cent.

France Telecom's ISP Wanadoo - which owns Freeserve here in the UK - saw losses fall slightly from £35.7 million to £33.8 million.

Earnings from its fixed-line operations outside France stayed the same at £301 million, while domestic fixed-line earnings fell two per cent to £2.5 billion. In total, France Telecom's earnings have risen 14 per cent to £3.8 billion.

The full results are due to be released on 5 September, by which time we should have a clearer idea of how and why the results were leaked from an analyst meeting. And why France Telecom dithered instead of simply confirming them. ®

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