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Analysts hang up on C&W's growth plans

Shares down nearly 13 per cent

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Cable & Wireless (C&W) shares dropped nearly 13 per cent this afternoon following analyst doubts over the British telecoms group’s new growth objectives.

The Bracknell-based firm laid out its new business targets for Europe, Asia and US at an investors meeting today and said it was aiming to set annual revenue growth at between five and eight per cent over the next five years.

It said earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation would see annual growth between 20 and 25 per cent.

However, sceptical analysts, many of whom predict that the firm will shortly demerge, have questioned the likelihood of C&W meeting such ambitious targets.

The company, which has recently undergone a painful restructuring exercise that has so far led to some 3,000 job cuts, said that it hoped to expand its operations overseas to offset a decline in traditional voice sales.

It added that it has been gaining ground in India, where just last month C&W was granted international long distance and national long distance licences by the Department of Telecommunications.

It also reckoned sales from its network services division would add to revenue.

But the City clearly disagreed with the firm's robust stance this afternoon, sending shares tumbling to 155.4 pence, down 22 pence on yesterday's close. ®

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