Brazilian telecoms operator Brasil Telecom Participacoes (BrT), recently acquired by Oi (Telemar), has reported a sharp drop in fourth-quarter net income after a drop in the value of the Brazilian real impacted on its debt costs. The company said net profits slumped 42% to BRL115.3 million (USD50 million) from BRL197.7 million in the same period of 2007, well below the average estimate of BRL195.5 million, in a Bloomberg News survey of five analysts. Last year the real dropped by 23% against the US dollar, leading BrT to book a financial loss of BRL202.1 million as the depreciation forced the telco to spend eight times more on servicing its foreign-currency debt. The company posted revenues of BRL2.87 billion in the fourth quarter of 2008, broadly unchanged from BRL2.88 billion previously. It closed out 2008 with 5.6 million wireless customers, up 32% year-on-year, and 1.8 million broadband internet users (up 15%).