State-owned long-distance and local telephony provider Colombia Telecomunicaciones (Telecom) has reported an operating profit of COP457 million (USD171 million) in its first five months of operation since replacing its loss-making predecessor last year. The telco said that it plans to invest USD81.3 million in its network and services in 2004, with particular focus on its internet services. The Colombian government liquidated Telecom in June 2003 as the result of continued operating losses since 1996, as well as alleged mismanagement and inefficiency of Telecom’s subsidiaries. Telecom later emerged as a new company with its assets intact and – following the lay-off of 5,400 employees – a skeleton staff, continuing to operate under the Telecom name. The liquidation process saw the company lose 1.3 million active lines due to a forced integration of its centrally managed lines with the active lines formerly managed by its subsidiaries.
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