The Czech Republic’s former fixed line monopoly operator Cesky Telecom has reported strong profits for 2004, bringing welcome news for bidders involved in the company’s privatisation. The telco reported preliminary net profits of CZK5.6 billion (USD242 million) compared to a loss of CZK1.8 billion last year. Sales were up 21% to CZK62.1 billion, boosted by the full consolidation of its cellular subsidiary Eurotel for the first time. Cesky Telecom says fixed line penetration remained at around 34% in 2004, while Eurotel ended the year with 4.6 million subscribers, giving it a 42.6% share of the country’s mobile market. The number of ADSL customers rose from 15,000 at the start of the year to 101,000. The Czech government is currently evaluating bids for its 51% stake in Cesky Telecom, with operators such as Swisscom and Belgacom among the hopeful candidates.