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Colt trots to Europe as it rejigs business

Telecoms sector still tough

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Colt Telecom is overhauling its corporate structure in a bid to generate profit, and is also looking to raise £300m in new equity which should help reduce its net debt to below £100m.

At the same time, the telco is planning to domicile its business in mainland Europe and ditch its NASDAQ listing, though it insists it will retain its listing on the London Stock Exchange.

The reason for shunting the company to the Continent, Colt said, is that with more than 80 per cent of its business and 90 per cent of its network assets in mainland Europe, such a move makes sense.

Publishing Q4 results to the end of December, Colt reported that revenue increased by 0.5 per cent to £309.9m compared to the same period last year. At the same time EBITDA (earnings before interest etc) was up £14.2m to £49.6m although pre-tax losses rose from £36.5m to £247.2m.

Colt chairman Barry Bateman said: "2005 was, in many ways, a better year than the results show. Although revenue growth was not as fast as expected, reflecting general pricing pressure, slow introduction of new products and a disappointing reduction of churn, we made substantial progress in controlling costs, improving productivity, streamlining business processes and transitioning work to India." ®

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