New Zealand's top carrier says earnings fall again

New Zealand Telecom reported March quarter net profit fell 28% to NZ$140 million (€70 million), compared with NZ$195 million a year ago, an Associated Press report said.

Telecom said these continuing operations figures exclude its directories business Yellow Pages, which Telecom sold in March 2007 for NZ$2.24 billion (€1.1 billion).

The three-month result follows a 25% net profit fall in the prior three month period, ended December 31, the Associated Press report said.

For the nine months to March 31, net profit fell to $535 million (€269 million) from a readjusted $693 million a year earlier, the report added.

The company said its costs had grown in the three months ended March 31 and traditional call incomes had declined.

Labor costs jumped 23% to NZ$216 million (€109 million) and depreciation and amortization costs increased 17% to NZ$190 million (€95 million).

At the same time New Zealand calling revenue slid 10% to NZ$664 million (€334 million) as competition increased, interconnection revenue fell 10% and mobile revenue dropped 6%.

Telecom is in the midst of a government-imposed restructuring that has forced the company to split into three operating companies and open its network to competitors, the report further said.