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Swisscom feels the heat of competition

Switzerland’s largest telecommunications company, Swisscom, says tougher competition will keep its sales and profit under pressure in 2010.

The company made a net profit of SFr1.925 billion ($1.78 billion) in 2009 when lower depreciation charges helped to offset weaker domestic demand.

The former state monopoly said in a statement that its key Swiss business would continue to decline this year as a result of ongoing competition, unbundling and a levelling-off of growth in the mobile and broadband market.

Swisscom’s fourth-quarter profit was SFr401 million, below analysts’ average expectations of SFr438 million.

The group’s Italian broadband operator, Fastweb, has reported a 2009 net profit of €35.6 million (SFr52.2 million).

Swisscom bought Fastweb in 2007, returning to a more aggressive strategy to counter lacklustre growth at home.

The company’s share price rose 16.5 per cent in 2009. The board of directors is to propose a dividend of SFr20 (SFr19 for 2008) at the annual shareholders’ meeting. and agencies

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