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Telecom tries to rescue battered share price

By Ray Lilley

Friday 13th October 2000

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Theresa Gattung
Telecom executives used the annual meeting yesterday to attempt to buoy up its share price from an 18-month low.

In her first address as chief executive, Theresa Gattung lauded Australia as the highlight of the past year, with the purchase of telecommunications company AAPT and the deal securing the $A500 million five-year Commonwealth Bank telco contract.

Ms Gattung said she expected the full purchase of AAPT to be completed by next month.

She pointed to the launch of the new CDMA mobile phone network by mid next year as giving New Zealand's love affair with mobile phones "a shot of adrenalin."

Investors quietly hoped the same would happen to the sagging share price, although reduced dividend payouts were not expected to recover quickly either way.

Ms Gattung said CDMA, with higher data speeds, handsets with bigger screens and a range of new services will be driven "hardest and fastest" by a youth market which sees mobile connectivity as central to their lifestyle and identity.

The recently completed interconnection deals with Clear, Telstra Saturn and Vodafone showed the local industry could resolve differences without regulatory intervention, Ms Gattung said.

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