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Telecom announces name change

Last updated 09:30 21/02/2014
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Telecom says it expects to spend about $20 million changing its name to Spark and will launch a new internet television business, ShowmeTV.

The company announced this morning that it would change its name later this year.

Spokesman Andrew Pirie said the cost of the rebrand was an estimate. "There are a lot of signs to change."

Chief executive Simon Moutter said the new name for Telecom would better reflect the company's "new direction" and aspirations.

"Spark is a word that has life and energy, and links to the creativity of New Zealanders, the modern tech economy and our desire to enable our customers to thrive," he said.

ShowmeTV would launch in the next few months, Moutter said. "We're keeping our cards close to our chest on details such as pricing and the content catalogue. But ... it's clear that if we're going to successfully play in this space, against very formidable competitors, then we must be bold and committed - we can't just 'dip our toe in the water'," he said.

The company today reported a 2.5 per cent rise in net interim net profit to $167 million. Revenues fell 3 per cent to $1.847 billion.

Telecom will retain its Skinny Mobile brand and its Revera brand, for the data centre business it acquired at a cost of $96m last year. But its main information technology business, Gen-i, will be renamed Spark Digital Solutions.

Telecom retail boss Chris Quin strongly hinted in 2012 when he was competing for job of company chief executive that he was in favour of rebranding Telecom, but said it would be a decision for the company's board.

Alan Gourdie, retail boss at the time, said Telecom would first have to earn the right to a new identity by "getting the basics right".

The prospect of a new name then appeared to decline after Moutter, who was appointed to the top job, appeared lukewarm on the idea.

Chairman Mark Verbiest said Telecom anticipated an improved financial performance in the second half of this financial year, with broadband revenues beginning to stabilise, mobile growth continuing and its turnaround programme delivering tangible free cash flow improvements.

"As a result we expect adjusted earnings before tax, interest, depreciation and amortisation from continuing operations for the full year to be in the range of $925 million to $945 million, excluding the AAPT sale proceeds and rebranding costs," he said.

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- The Dominion Post

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