Spanish telecoms and multimedia giant Telefonica confirmed its place among Europe's top operators with a 38.8% rise in net profits for the year 2000 to Euros2.5bn. Earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose 9.5% to Euros11.9bn.

Multimedia filial Telefonica Media didn't fare so well, posting net losses of Euros627.1m, compared with Euros103m in 1999. The subsidiary completed a string of acquisitions last year, including the full incorporation of Dutch entertainment giant Endemol, Argentinean TV holding company ATCO and 70% of Spanish producer Lolafilms.

Telefonica Media -backed digital satellite TV platform Via Digital also continued to lose money, while free-to-air broadcaster Antena 3, another Telefonica Media interest, posted profits.

Telefonica pointed to economic recuperation in Latin America, where it holds a range of media and telco interests, and a diversification of income sources as factors contributing to its rise in overall profits. The company emphasized its positive results at a time when both telecoms and internet firms worldwide have experienced significant stock market upheavals.

Telefonica underwent its own seachanges last year with the controversial July departure of CEO and chairman Juan Villalonga and incorporation of new president Cesar Alierta. Other key personnel switches included the appointment of former banker Juan Jose Nieto to head Telefonica Media and, just this week, the naming of Stephen Killeen as president of US operations for internet subsidiary Terra Lycos to fill Lycos founder and chief Bob Davis's recently vacated spot.

Earlier this month, industry veteran Ele Juarez left his post as president and CEO of HBO Latin America Group and HBO Brazil to take over the newly created position of managing director of strategic alliances, international sales and music for Telefonica Media, where he is expected to focus on growth in the US.