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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 5 March, 2003, 08:23 GMT
Record loss for France Telecom
France Telecom booth
Rapid expansion left France Telecom heavily indebted
Heavily indebted France Telecom has reported a record full-year loss of 20.7bn euros (14.3bn; $22.5bn) in 2002 after write downs wiped out revenues.

The state-owned company reported a net loss of 8.3bn euros in 2001.

The asset write downs of 18.2bn euros were due mainly its Italian mobile unit Wind, data communications unit Equant and Swiss mobile operator Orange Suisse, the company said.

Like many other telecoms groups, France Telecom went on an aggressive but ill-fated expansion drive during the telecoms boom in the late 1990s, leaving it with 70bn euros of debt.

Low call

No date was given for when it would go ahead with a share issue to raise 15bn euros to pay-off some of its debts.

Core profit was 14.9bn euros, up from 12.3bn in 2001, but well below analysts expectations.

France Telecom's mobile phone unit Orange, Europe's third-largest, reported a net loss of 4.5bn euros in 2002.

The company's shares are up about 15% this year after plummeting more than 61% in 2002.

They are still 90% below than their all-time high in 2000.

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25 Feb 03 |  Business
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