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C&W in £1.5bn share buy back

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Shares in alternative British telecoms carrier Cable & Wireless nudged up following confirmation that it will buy-back up to 15 per cent of its shares and issue a special dividend to investors.

News of the £1.5 billion offer had been widely expected as shareholders put pressure C&W to return some of the £4.1 billion in cash it has sloshing about.

Publishing its results for the six months to the end of September, the company said that revenue in Cable & Wireless Global - which delivers IP and data solutions to business customers in the UK, US, Continental Europe and Japan - was down five per cent on the same period last year.

Revenues from its large corporate customers grew by 11 per cent.

But revenue from service providers - which includes telecoms and Internet companies - sank eight per cent, reflecting the financial difficulties of many companies in this sector.

Group revenue slipped from £4.43 billion in H1 2000 to £3.31 billion in the first six months of this year.

Pre-tax profit before exceptional items was £83 million, down form £537 million on last year.

Graham Wallace, Chief Executive Cable and Wireless plc, said: "The strength of our balance sheet is a real competitive advantage in these turbulent times.

"We continue to implement our strategy, reduce the cost base and capital expenditure and position the group for profitable growth," he said.

By late afternoon shares were up 19.5p (5.64 per cent) at 365.5p. ®

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