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Verizon, the giant US telco, reported a strong set of results today boosted by double-digit growth in its wireless division.

For the fourth quarter 2004, Verizon notched up earnings of $3bn compared to a loss of $1.5bn in the same period in 2003. For the full year, Verizon reported earnings of $7.8bn compared with $3.1bn in 2003. Before special items, earnings were $7bn in 2004, and $7.3bn in 2003.

Consolidated operating revenues for Q4 was a record $18.3bn (£9.7bn) - up 6.2 per cent compared to $17.2bn (£9.1bn) in Q4 2003. Annual consolidated operating revenues were $71.3bn in 2004, up 5.7 per cent compared to $67.5bn in 2003, making it Verizon's "strongest annual revenue growth in three years", the company said in a statement.

Verizon Wireless accounted for more than 40 per cent of group revenues in Q4, compared with less than 35 per cent in Q4 2003. It added 6.3m new punters over the last 12 months taking total subscriber base to 43.8m.

Overall, Verizon's growth businesses - wireless, long-distance, broadband, data and enterprise services - accounted 55.2 per cent of Q4 revenues. Verizon chairman and chief exec Ivan Seidenberg said the company is "realizing value from [its] diversified asset base" and and is investing in "growth areas".

Verizon also hit its debt reduction targets by paying off $6.1bn (£3.2bn) over the year taking its outstanding debt to $39.3bn (£20.8bn) at the end of 2004. ®

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