BT reports strong results on back of broadband boom
BT has today reported pre-tax profit of £2,312 million for the year to March 31 2014.
Reflecting what the company said was the benefit of its focus on capital expenditure efficiencies and debt reduction, revenue was up 1%. Adjusted revenue, which excludes specific items, was flat at £18,287 million.
BT reported full-year revenue, profit and earnings either in line with or slightly above forecasts, helped by the strong demand for broadband which underpinned a 4% rise in BT Consumer full-year revenue, its first rise in ten years.
BT's investment in fibre optic saw 1.3 million more premises taking fibre this year, almost doubling the number of homes and businesses now connected. The fibre network now reaches more than 19 million homes and businesses in the UK.
Commenting on the results, Gavin Patterson, BT chief executive, said: "We have made strong progress this year. Underlying revenue, adjusted profit before tax and normalised free cash flow have all grown and beaten market expectations."
Last week BT announced that it will be making BT Sport free for another season for both new and re-contracting broadband customers.
Approximately five million homes receive BT Sport and it is estimated that three million subscribing homes take the service directly from BT - via satellite, BT TV or the BT Sport app - while the remainder receive the service via wholesale deals struck by BT. Of the three million customers, 25% have signed up since the channel first went live nine months ago.
BT Sport's debut season included the Barclays Premier League and FA Cup, Moto GP races and NBA Basketball, and 2015 will see the broadcaster show all live matches from the Champions League and Europa League live, after winning the exclusive rights from Sky and ITV in a deal worth almost £1 billion.
"BT Sport has proved very popular and we are delighted the service is now in around five million homes," Patterson said. "For BT Consumer it underpinned a record 9% growth in revenue in the fourth quarter and the lowest line losses in over five years.
"These results provide a strong platform for growth and from which to achieve our outlook for the years ahead. Our performance in the year means that we are growing our full year dividend by 15% to 10.9p and we now expect to increase our dividend by 10%-15% for each of the next two years. We continue to focus on improving the service we provide to our customers and delivering on our investments."
Shares in BT were up 3% in early trading on Thursday
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