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Swisscom profit slips, no plans to change course

'Results are solid and we are on track,' according to interim CEO Urs Schaeppi Keystone

Swisscom, Switzerland’s largest telecommunications company, says it will appoint a new chief executive by the end of the year as it reported an almost ten per cent drop in first-half net profit.

The company, which is majority state owned, was left with a vacuum at its helm after CEO Carsten Schloter was found dead at his home on July 23 in a suspected suicide. Deputy CEO Urs Schaeppi was named interim boss.

In a statement on Wednesday, Swisscom said net income fell by 9.7 per cent to CHF819 million ($885 million) in the first six months of 2013 compared with the same period for the previous year.

Turnover fell CHF25 million (0.4 per cent) to CHF5.596 billion, while operating income before depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) was down by CHF122 million (5.5 per cent) to CHF2.102 billion.

Swisscom said the decline was primarily due to general price erosion of around CHF200 million in Swiss business and lower revenue from roaming fees of around CHF90 million. It added that the reduction was largely offset by customer and volume growth of around CHF260 million.

“Our results are solid and we are on track. We will continue to pursue our strategy with a strong focus on customer service and innovation,” Schaeppi said.

“Despite continuing competition and price pressure we are confident about the second half of the year. We are investing a great deal in our network and for our customers, and are convinced that this will pay off in the long term.”

Schaeppi denied any need for a change of course after Schloter’s death. “There’s nothing that we need to alter significantly,” he said.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR