Alcatel, the French telecommunications equipment group, is planning to respond to analysts' calls for greater transparency by joining the small band of large French companies that publishes quarterly profit figures. Jean-Pierre Halbron, finance director, made the disclosure in an interview, saying the company would start producing the figures, with a delay of about a month, from the second half of next year. The move will be widely interpreted as a reaction to the severity of the market's response to last month's unexpected profits warning. More than FFr 70bn (USD12.6bn) was wiped from the group's stock market value in a single September day after it warned that 1998 operating profit would be below expectations.In spite of the start of a share buy-back programme, the shares remain near their close on that day. Alcatel said it had repurchased some 4.5m shares to date. The board has approved a buy-back programme for a maximum of 10% of the company's capital. Mr Halbron also confirmed that the Securities and Exchange Commission, the US securities...

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