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Thus inches towards the black

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Thus only needs £60m or so to take it through to profitability by March 2004 ( a year earlier than previously planned), or in its words "free cash flow breakeven on a sustainable basis".

The alternative telco hailed today's interims as evidence of 'strong improvement', in operating performance and financial controls. In spite of pricing pressures, margins are up, thanks to better network utilisation. And capital expenditure is reduced, reflecting the completion of the network build.

The company notes contract wins in its business telco division, with half year sales up 19 per cent year on year to £78.2 million. Also sales were up at its Demon Internet subsidiary, with small business ADSL accounts delivering the engine for growth. Demon half year t/o was £44m, up 16 per cent on the last year.

But there is still a mountain to climb - Thus recorded a hefty operating loss, albeit down 37 per cent to £25.2m on revenues advancing 11 per cent to £143m.

Earnings before Bad Stuff for the six months to 30 September 2002 were £10.9m (H1 01 - £9.01m). But there's a lot of bad stuff - depreciation, amortization, and interest payments on debt taking half year losses to £38m (a 38 per cent improvement on the same period last year). ®

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