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November 1, 2012

Revenue down but profits rise at BT

Rollout of fibre to the home is well ahead of schedule, telecoms giant announces

By Steve Evans

Telecoms giant BT has recorded a fall in revenue but eked out an increase in profit before tax thanks to cost cutting measures.

The company has also cut its full year revenue outlook as a result of a decrease in spending across Europe.

For its second quarter BT registered revenue of £4.47bn, 8.5% down on the figure recorded during the same quarter last year. This figure was also below analyst estimates of £4.55bn.

The company blamed a variety of issues for the drop in revenue. The recession has resulted in a drop-off in spending across the UK and throughout Europe, and regulatory changes related to premium phone calls cost the company £40m during the quarter.

The miserable summer also played its part in BT’s poor revenue figures. The company said that heavy rain increase the number of repairs it had to carry out to phone lines, which resulted in a backlog of new installations.

BT Global Services, the company’s outsourcing arm, suffered another poor quarter, with revenue down 13% to £1.75bn.

However despite this, profit before tax increased 7% to £608m, primarily thanks to cost cutting across the group.

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CEO Ian Livingston was happy with the results. "We have delivered another solid quarter of growth in profit before tax despite the economic conditions and regulatory impacts," he said.

In more good news for the company, Livingston announced that its rollout of fibre broadband is ahead of schedule. The company now expects to cover two-thirds of UK premises by Spring 2014, 18 months ahead of the original plan.

At the moment around 12 million homes are able to connect to BT’s fibre network and around 950,000 have done so, the company said.

"Fibre is at the heart of our broadband plans for both town and country. We plan to step up our efforts yet again to complete our commercial fibre roll-out early as this will allow us to focus even further on the next exciting stage of our fibre broadband strategy," Livingston said.

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