Swisscom yesterday reported a 13.5% rise in net profits to CHF1.37 billion for the first nine months of 2003, despite revenue growth of just 0.4% during the period. The operator said turnover rose only slightly to CHF10.83 billion, highlighting more than ever the need for expansion into new markets outside its own. Chief executive Jens Alder said his company was still ‘very interested’ in forging synergies with close neighbour Telekom Austria, particularly in central and eastern Europe, though seemed to admit defeat in his recent attempts to buy the telco outright. He added ‘It is a price question. The company is not for sale, but our interest is unbroken’. Swisscom is planning to spend between CHF1 billion and CHF1.5 billion on a share buy back, and has also confirmed its intention to sell its majority shareholding in Germany’s debitel Group.