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SBD Global/November 3, 2017/Finance

BT's Profits Dip In Second Quarter Due To Higher Payments For Sports Rights

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Profits at BT "dipped in the second quarter partly due to higher payments" for sports rights and a "slowdown" in its global corporate services division, according to the BBC. The company said that other factors holding back profits "included investment in customer service, and higher pension costs and business rates." Pre-tax profits for the three months to Sept. 30 fell 1% to £666M ($870M). The company said that market conditions in the division continued to be "challenging." It is cutting back staff numbers "and has shed 1,500 posts so far this year, with a further 1,500 roles to go in the second half of the year." Another 1,000 will be cut next year. BT said that operating costs in its consumer business had risen by 2% due to investment in new U.K. customer service roles and additional sports rights costs from the Premier League, Box Nation and the Ashes (BBC, 11/2). SKY NEWS' John-Paul Ford Rojas reported BT's shares fell 3%. BT screens Champions League and some Premier League football matches. BT's global services arm recorded a £34M ($44.4M) loss for the period as it wrote down the value of "certain projects" and the division, which serves corporate customers, saw underlying revenues dip 11%. The unit "has been hit by the impact of an accounting scandal in its Italian operations," disclosed earlier this year, that resulted in a £530M ($692M) write-down and a major share price fall (SKY NEWS, 11/2). REUTERS' Paul Sandle wrote BT reported adjusted core earnings of £1.81B ($2.4B) for the quarter, "slightly ahead of forecasts," on revenue down 2% to £5.95B ($7.8B). BT CEO Gavin Patterson, however, said that the group was "maintaining its outlook for the full-year and its progressive dividend policy" (REUTERS, 11/2).
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