France Telecom-controlled internet service provider Wanadoo reported Tuesday it will post a net profit for the year to December 2002 – thanks to a 33% leap in full-year sales.

The bullish ISP, whose interests extend beyond France to the UK (where it trades as FreeServe) and Spain (as eresMas), also predicts that sales growth will continue through 2003. By the end of December, subscriber levels had soared 41% to 8.53 million – comfortably ahead of its own forecast by half a million.

Wanadoo expects to achieve core earnings at the higher end of analysts’ expectations of €68 million ($72.0m; £44.8m), predicting that these will triple in 2003. Commented outgoing chief executive Nicolas Dufourcq: “The company is profitable at the level of net results.”

Significantly, Wanadoo’s online trading activities expanded by 67% compared with its traditional telephone directory business which managed only a puny four per cent.

Wanadoo was launched by France Telecom in 1996 and three years later began binge-shopping across Europe where it acquired ISPs in a number of major markets.

Data sourced from: BBC Online Business News (UK); additional content by WARC staff