New Zealand’s largest company, Telecom Corp of New Zealand Ltd, is determined to keep going forward as its country’s economy appears to be going in the opposite direction. Chief executive Roderick Deane enjoyed cocking a snook at the company’s doubters: We have been able to ladle on sufficient marketing strategies to keep our growth rates up even though the economy has been slowing, and that runs a little in contrast to what some people had suggested might be the case, he said. Telecom Corp, in which Ameritech Corp and Bell Atlantic Corp each hold a 25% stake, reported net profits up 16% to the equivalent of $233.8m, on turnover that rose 12% to $1,011.1m. International outward call volumes for the half-year grew by 18.8% and domestic call revenue increased by 13.9% compared with the same period last year. The markets liked what they saw from the company and were also pleased with its switch to quarterly dividend payments, which would be welcomed by investors, especially private clients and US fund managers. This time Telecom Corp will pay two interim dividends of 8.5 NZ cents each. The company also said it would enter the on-line services market, initially as a supplier of capacity to other service providers on the Internet, and eventually it would intergrate services in the on-line market with other, broadband initiatives now being developed to fuel further growth.