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Oz’s Telstra posts record $2.1 bil post-tax profits

But concerns about cost structure, expansion send shares down 7¢

SYDNEY — Australian government-controlled telephony group Telstra, which owns half of Rupert Murdoch’s dominant feevee cabler Foxtel, on Wednesday delivered Oz’s largest-ever post-tax profit of A$3.7 billion ($2.1 billion), on revenues of $11.5 billion.

That didn’t stop Telstra shares from slumping 7¢ to $3.93 amid investor concerns at its cost structure and Asian expansion plans.

Shares in Oz’s No. 2 telephony provider Cable & Wireless Optus, which runs the moribund Optus feevee platform, surged 21% to $2.75 after Hong Kong Chinese-language newspaper Ming Pao reported that Li KaShing’s Hutchison Whampoa and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone were bidding to take the C&W’s 52% stake in Optus.

Rumors that C&W is eager to quit Optus have been gathering steam in recent months, with persistent reports on the matter in British newspapers.

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