Eircom reports 3.8% jump in profits

Ireland's dominant fixed-line carrier Eircom Group posted a full-year net profit increase of 3.8%, an announcement moved up by 10 days because of speculation over a possible takeover, an Associated Press report said.

The report said Eircom's net profit for the year ending March 31 rose to 82 million euros ($106 million) from 79 million euros ($101 million). It said sales rose 5.9% to 1.693 billion euros ($2.189 billion) from 1.598 billion euros ($2 billion).

Australian investment group Babcock & Brown last month made a 2.36-billion-euro ($3-billion) takeover proposal for Eircom, a former state monopoly privatized six years ago, the report said.

But Eircom shed no new light on the state of those negotiations, saying in its results only that discussions involving the Eircom board, Babcock & Brown officials and Eircom employees' share ownership trust "are continuing and a further announcement will be made if and when appropriate."

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