The chief executive officer of Australian fund Babcock & Brown Robert Topfer has resurrected the idea of hiving off eircom into separate retail and network businesses, according to reports in the UK newspaper The Sunday Times. Mr Topfer told reporters in Australia: ‘If we can split the business, we’ll do it,’ although he later added that any such moves would not take place immediately, and that Babcock & Brown saw the proposal more as a longer-term objective. It could look to implement plans within one to two years however, and says its plan has the backing of the Irish authorities. ‘We spoke to the government about it before we started [the takeover] and they see that sort of separation as the best outcome for Ireland,’ Topfer is reported to have said. The Australian fund group is set to take formal control of the former state telecoms monopoly next week, when its EUR2.36 billion takeover is rubber-stamped by the courts.