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BT maintains growth record

Bags big share of broadband latecomers

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BT shares jumped four per cent this morning after another set of strong quarterly results.

The telecoms giant grew pre-tax profits in the three months ended 31 December by 13 per cent to £643m on the back of revenues of £5.1bn, up five per cent. Investors saw earnings per share reach 5.8 pence, up 14 per cent.

The numbers follow the pattern for the firm over the past couple of years; the profits hike was delivered by strong uptake of broadband, with BT retail broadband bagging 34 per cent of new high speed punters, and wholesale doing nicely too. BT said it expects to continue to drive profits up into 2008.

The Global Services division, which has led BT's charge, grew steadily this time round at four per cent, but that was offset by a one per cent growth of the retail division - its first in four years.

The traditional fixed line business shrank slightly, but at one per cent, the drop-off was smaller than in preceding quarters and overall BT was able to squeeze each household for an extra £4 on average.

Running the business became more expensive for BT, as its operating costs increased 6 per cent to £4.5bn because of investment in its much-trumpeted 21st Century Network - BT said it has now upgraded 10 per cent of the national network - and is hiring staff to support its growing IT service contract venture.

A trial of ADSL 2+ began in Cardiff, which included a high definition IPTV broadcasts of Torchwood at up to 24Mbit/s. ®

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