South Korea's top carrier sees gloomy profit outlook

KT cut its 2008 earnings targets on its shrinking fixed-line business and said it would take action to counter competition, a Reuters report said.

KT, South Korea's biggest fixed-line and broadband operator, said in a filing to the Korea Exchange that it had lowered its operating profit target by 20% to 1.2 trillion won (€762 million, US$1.2 billion) from a previously stated goal of 1.5 trillion won (€951 million, US$1.5 billion).

The company also cut its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization target to 3.3 trillion won (€2 billion, US$3.4 billion) from 3.6 trillion won (€2.27 billion, US$3.6 billion), and slightly lowered its 2008 revenue target to 11.9 trillion won (€7.5 billion US$11.9 billion), the Reuters report further said.

'The decline in fixed-line phone calls has been faster than earlier expected,' KT spokeswoman Alice Park, quoted by the Reuters report, said.

KT, which has about 90% of South Korea's fixed-line market and 44% of the country's broadband customers, has seen profits slide as it faces increasing competition from smaller rivals.

KT hopes to find new revenue sources in high-speed mobile internet Wibro and internet Protocol TV , but the market has yet to expand substantially.