Friday 17 January 2020

Shares at BT hit five-year high over results boost

John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Investors are betting that UK telecoms group BT is back on track after the company delivered results that beat expectations, catapulting its shares to a more than five-year high.

The company, headed by chief executive Ian Livingston, said its revenue in the year to the end of March fell by 5pc to £18.2bn (€21.5bn); while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 2pc to £6.18bn (€7.3bn). Analysts had expected revenue to decline to £18.1bn and EBITDA to hit £6.1bn.

The company also said that revenue at its all-island operations in Ireland rose 4pc in the year to the end of March to £740m (€877m), while its EBITDA was flat.

The company doesn't divulge the actual EBITDA figure for Ireland.

It said earnings in Ireland had been held at the previous year's level as a result of investment in the delivery of large contracts, which offset cost savings.

"We continue to manage our cost base carefully, while making investments in the future of our business to support our customers and to improve our service," said BT Ireland chief executive Colm O'Neill, adding that the environment here had remained challenging.

Investors

The overall group results have encouraged investors to believe that BT has turned a corner.

The group is also preparing for battle with BSkyB after BT announced this week that it is going to offer its subscribers free viewing of Premier League football as it tries to lure customers to its new fibre network.

That puts it on a collision course with Sky.

"Revenues were flat this quarter and that's certainly a step in the right direction," Mr Livingston said.

"We expect to carry on growing our profits, carry on growing our dividend and carry on growing our cash flow, and return this business to revenue growth.

"That remains our aim," he added

Irish Independent

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