Dividend doesn’t save Telstra’s skin

Telstra has posted its worst-ever result with its half-year net profit to December 31 falling 44 per cent to $1.184 billion. During the same period in 2001, the telco recorded a profit of $2.1 billion. Sales decreased 0.1 per cent to $10.2 billion and operating expenses also declined 0.1 per cent, to $5.2 billion. EBIT fell 3.3 per cent to $3.5 billion.

The telco is offering a one-off dividend of 3 cents per share and has also increased its ordinary dividend to 12 cents a share; both dividends are fully franked. On the immediate future, Telstra admitted it had a “flat outlook” but was more positive on the potential growth in mobile phone and broadband subscriptions. It said there could be up to two million additional mobile phone subscribers in 2003 with market penetration for mobiles rising to about 80 per cent.