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Telecom Egypt says 38 pct of undersea cable sold

CAIRO, March 21 (Reuters) - Telecom Egypt , the country's fixed-line monopoly, has sold around 38 percent of the capacity of its TE North undersea cable for $220 million, the firm said on Sunday. The cable travels from a site west of Alexandria to Marseille in France and connects with a line from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean. Telecom Egypt spent around $150 million on the cable. "The $220 million worth of contracts will be part of a total of $500 million in expected revenues over 15 years," Investor Relations Director Ahmed Fathallah told Reuters. The company said last year it sold around a quarter of TE North's capacity for $176 million in 2008. The cable was to have begun operating by the end of 2009, but Telecom Egypt pushed back the launch to the second quarter of 2010 without explaining the reason. Fourth quarter earnings were hurt by a slide in retail revenue. Net profit fell to 481 million Egyptian pounds ($89 million) from 831 million pounds a year earlier, on revenue of 2.2 billion pounds, according to Reuters calculations, lagging the 732 million pound average forecast. (Writing by Dina Zayed; Editing by Hans Peters) Keywords: TELECOMEGYPT/CABLE (dina.zayed@thomsonreuters.com, Cairo newsroom +20 2 2578 3290, Reuters Messaging: dina.zayed.reuters.com@reuters.net) COPYRIGHT Copyright Thomson Reuters 2010. All rights reserved.

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