BT starts boosting Wireless image. Doesn't work

Looks like the float is finally going to go ahead

BT has started boosting the image of its mobile division BT Wireless, providing the first evidence that it finally plans to go ahead with its much vaulted float.

The company said it expects sales from the business to hit £6.8 billion by the end of its financial year in March. The bulk of this comes from an expected £2.9 billion from BT Cellnet and a further £0.78 billion from German mobile company Viag Telekom - presuming of course that its 45 per cent purchase goes through (it already owns 45 per cent). BT is also going ahead with plans to buy the remaining 50 per cent of Dutch mobile company Telfort.

All this, and the fact that these figures have been released now (based only on first-quarter results) is a sure sign that BT Wireless is finally going to be floated. The float has been used as an escape several times in the past few months when the media and City have criticised the giant's massive debt burden. The purchase of majority stakes in European mobile operators is essential if a float is to be successful.

Unfortunately, the presentation of BT Wireless' financial situation did not impress the City and BT's shares fell 2.2 per cent on the news. ®

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