BT Reports Strongest Quarter Of Revenue Growth In Five Years
Strong "take-up of broadband on the back of an unexpectedly aggressive drive into the pay-television market delivered the best revenue growth for five years at BT," according to Daniel Thomas of the FINANCIAL TIMES. Continued demand for the British telecom group’s "fledgling sports TV services boosted broadband and TV customer numbers and helped mitigate the long-term loss in its consumer line business." BT CEO Gavin Patterson said, "Our strategic investments are delivering." BT revealed the "highest quarterly increase in consumer revenue in a decade," up 6% in the third quarter, although operating costs for its retail arm rose 8% owing to the investment of £140M ($230M) in BT Sport. This led to an 8% "fall in retail earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation" and a 6% "drop in operating profit in the quarter" (FT, 1/31). The FT also wrote BT Group led London's FTSE 100 after the company reported its "strongest quarter of revenue growth." Revenues in the fourth quarter were up 2% to £4.6B, beating expectations of £4.5B, while reported profit before tax rose 6% to £617M. Earnings per share rose 11% to 6.3p. Shares in BT rose 3.1% to 382.2p, topping the FTSE 100 index, which inched 0.2% lower to 6,525.46 as banks weighed (FT, 1/31).