Australian telco Telstra has reported a record after-tax profit of $1.27bn (A$2.1bn) for the six months to December 31, an increase of 15.6% on the corresponding period last year. The result was on turnover of $2bn (A$3.3bn) before tax and interest.
Telstra chief executive Ziggy Switkowski said non-traditional services such as mobiles, data, text and Internet, had contributed to the result: "Six years ago, less than a quarter of Telstra's revenues came from non-traditional products and services. Now that figures is about half," Switkowski said.
Switkowski also announced further staff cuts of about 10,000 people, or a fifth of the workforce, and plans to deliver broadband services to 90% of Australia's population over the next two years. However he revealed little about the company's acquisition intentions or likely structural changes. This lack of detail has been blamed for an immediate 6% drop in the company's share price.
The telecommunications giant already owns half of pay-TV operator Foxtel and expectations that it intends to float off its Internet business and make a major media purchase have created headline news in recent days. Just over 50% of Telstra remained in public hands after its November 1997 float. While the ruling Liberal Party believes Telstra should be able to act like any other business, some opposition parties believe it should be mindful that it is delivering an essential service.