Exceptional depreciation charges have caused an increase in 2004 net losses at the French fixed line operator neuf telecom. The firm, which is backed by the Louis Dreyfus group, says losses rose from EUR27 million in 2003 to EUR49 million last year, although without the extra charge it actually made a profit of EUR2 million compared with a loss of EUR5 million in 2003. Operating profit was up 20% to EUR121 million, while sales jumped 18% to EUR1.17 billion. neuf telecom offers a range of telephony and internet services and currently provides broadband internet connections to 540,000 subscribers. Recent rumours have named the telco as a possible merger target for its larger rival, Cegetel.