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Wanadoo UK (Freeserve) lost around €30 million last year as cost-cutting measures designed to eat away at last year's loss began to bite.

Last year Wanadoo UK, as Freeserve's parent company insists on calling it and thus fuelling speculation that the company is planning to ditch its Freeserve brand, lost €92 million.

This year, that figure has fallen to a deficit of somewhere around €30 million.

Despite this, Wanadoo UK is displaying a certain joie de vivre after reporting that it broke even in the second half of the year.

Said Wanadoo in a statement: "Wanadoo UK (Freeserve) cut its full-year loss in operating income before amortization and depreciation to less than a third of its previous level, while breaking even in the second half of 2003."

It prompted Olivier Sichel, chairman and CEO of Wanadoo, to say: "Wanadoo Spain and Wanadoo Netherlands broke even in operating income before amortization and depreciation, while Wanadoo UK exceeded its target, cutting its loss in operating income before amortization and depreciation by over two thirds."

Overall, Wanadoo reported an operating income of €250 million in 2003, compared to an operating loss of €6 million in 2002. Revenue for the group topped €2.6 billion in 2003.

Today's figures were widely trailed last week when Wanadoo UK revealed that it has 158,000 broadband users - an increase of 35,000 in the three months to the end of the year.

A senior Wanadoo UK spokesman explained that the ISP was planning to make a big push for broadband this year. "This is the year for broadband for us - we're going for it," he said. ®

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