France Telecom reports 50% jump in earnings

France Telecom reported a bigger-than-expected profits leap in 2007 and looked forward to steady growth as it held up well in European markets and newer ventures overseas, an AFP report said.

The AFP report said former French state monopoly said that 2007 net profit jumped more than 50% to 6.3 billion euros ($9.2 billion) on sales which rose by 2.4% to 52.96 billion euros.

Analysts had forecast a net profit of between 5.1 billion and 5.5 billion euros with sales at about 52.9 billion euros.

'The results we announce today are better than our forecasts,' chief executive Didier Lombard said in a statement.

On a weaker Paris stock market, the outcome gave the shares a boost and France Telecomw was up 1.2% at 23.30 euros in early trade.

Lombard said the company was looking at a special dividend for its employees as he announced that of 16,000 job cuts sought in 2006-2008, 75 % had been achieved by the end of last year.

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