Telstra: profit up in '09, but 2010 will be tough

Telstra appeared to buck the financial odds as it reported its 2009 fiscal year net profit was $3.5 billion, an increase of 10.3 percent from $3.1 billion in its fiscal 2008. The service provider's revenues rose 2.7 percent to $21.4 billion, while EBITDA rose 5.1 percent to $9.25 billion.

Of course, Telstra's service segments saw the typical ups and downs seen in the industry. Telstra reported that it ended its fiscal year with 9.02 million voice lines, a 3.7 decrease year-over-year. However, Telstra did see some gains in its retail broadband and mobile subscriber base. The service provider's retail broadband subscriber base increased by less than 1 percent, while mobile subscribers increased 9.2 percent to 10.19 million. Interestingly, Telstra's Enterprise and Government division saw 23.3 percent growth in IP access revenue, which it claims offset the decline in legacy data products.

Despite the gains it made in 2009, Telstra's newly-appointed CEO David Thodey believes 2010 won't be easy. While it has set a goal of generating $6 billion in free cash flow in the 2010 financial year, Telstra foresees low single-digit growth in both revenue and EBITDA.

"On the economic front, we expect an extended period of slow growth, but we have an excellent pipeline of innovative products to excite customers and stimulate usage and improve productivity for businesses large and small," Thodey said in a press release.

For more:
- see the press release here

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