Third quarter profits at BT up by 24%

Gavin Patterson, chief executive of BT.
Photo: BT

Gavin Patterson, chief executive of BT. Photo: BT - Credit: Archant

Telecoms group BT said today that profits grew by nearly a quarter in the three months to December 31 as it ruled out scrapping the EE branch following its takeover of the mobile operator.

BT said the figures for its third quarter were ahead of expectations, with reported pre-tax profits climbing by 24% to £862million.

It also recorded its best revenue growth for more than seven years, up 3% to £4.5billion over the same period.

The results were announced alongside details of a shake-up of the structure of the business following its £12.5bn acquisition of EE, but BT said jobs would not be impacted in the short term.

It said the results were partly fuelled by a strong quarter from its consumers business, which saw revenues grow 11% to £1.2bn.

Chief executive Gavin Patterson said the third quarter revealed a “strong set of results with good numbers across the board”.

He said: “BT Consumer had a stand-out quarter, increasing its overall line base for the first time in well over a decade and capturing 71% of new broadband customers.

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“We have completed our acquisition of EE, the UK’s best mobile network provider, and are confident that we’ll deliver the anticipated cost and revenue synergies.”

BT, which enjoyed its first full quarter since securing the rights to broadcast Champions League football, added 97,000 new TV customers, driving up its total customer base to 1.4m.

The growth was underpinned by a 46% spike in average viewing across its BT Sport channels, including “encouraging” audience figures around the group stages of the Champions League and the Europa League.

The company said its network business Openreach connected a net 494,000 new customers, a 32% increase.

BT sealed its mega-merger with EE on Friday, creating the UK’s biggest telecoms company. The tie-up gives the enlarged group 35% of the mobile consumer market alongside a similar share of the UK’s consumer broadband business.

The new structure of the company will include six lines of business: Consumer, EE, Business and Public Sector, Global Services, Wholesale and Ventures, and Openreach.

Mr Patterson added: “The acquisition provides us with a chance to refresh our structure and we have done that by creating a major new division that will focus on businesses and the public sector in the UK and Ireland.”

Regulator Ofcom is carrying out its first significant review of the telecoms sector for a decade, and is considering options which including splitting off BT’s networks business, Openreach, which provides the final mile of network connection into consumers’ homes and is used by rival operators.