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Deutsche Telekom CEO Asks for Patience from Shareholders

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BERLIN (AP) Deutsche Telekom's chief executive has asked that shareholders show patience, pointing to the global credit crisis as a reason for the company's lackluster share price, according to an interview published Sunday.

Rene Obermann took over as head of Europe's biggest telecommunications company in late 2006. Last week, the company reported a rise in first-quarter net profit but a decline in revenue.

Telekom shares, worth nearly EUR13.50 when Obermann took over, closed at EUR11.81 Friday.

"I want to show shareholders what great potential our company has; and I want to make clear how great an effort we are making to increase the value of the company," Obermann told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung newspaper.

However, "I can't perform magic," he added. "This is hard work that requires trust and patience."

Obermann noted that Telekom shares performed strongly until January. "Only with the credit crisis did the whole industry - so our competitors as well - fall back," he added, according to the report.

Obermann said that his company's marketing of Apple's iPhone in Germany, where it's available only with a two-year contract from Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile unit, has been "attractive and profitable."

He was quoted as saying that it has sold more than 100,000 of the devices in Germany so far.

Obermann brushed aside a question as to whether Deutsche Telekom wants to buy U.S. mobile phone rival Sprint Nextel Corp.

"It is our general policy not to comment on such market rumors," he said. "That would be irresponsible."

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

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