February 14, 2007 / 10:02 PM / 12 years ago

Australia's Telstra H1 profit down 20 pct

MELBOURNE, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Telstra Corp. Ltd. (TLS.AX), Australia’s largest telecoms firm, reported a 20 percent decline in first-half net profit on Thursday, weighed down by restructuring costs and increased spending on marketing.

Telstra said net profit fell to A$1.7 billion ($1.34) in the six months to December from A$2.14 billion.

This was higher than the consensus forecast of A$1.622 billion, according to the average of nine surveyed by Reuters.

The firm has previously said the first half would see the largest cost impact of its five-year transformation plan. But it has benefited from a slowdown in the rate of decline on high-margin fixed-line revenues, helped by bundling broadband services.

Telstra shares have risen 5.8 percent this year after some analysts upgraded the stock, while the broad market has added 5.2 percent.

($1=A$1.28)

((Reporting by Victoria Thieberger, editing by Jean Yoon; victoria.thieberger@reuters.com; Reuters Messaging: victoria.thieberger.reuters.com@reuters.net; +61 3 9286 1421)) Keywords: TELSTRA RESULTS/

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