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BT sales down, pre-tax profit up in telco's Q4

'We are well aware there remains a lot more to do,' says boss

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BT's total revenues fell 6 per cent in the company's final quarter though pre-tax profit nearly doubled in the period ended 31 March.

The telco giant reported £5bn in sales for the quarter compared with £5.35bn for the same Q4 in 2010.

Reported profit before tax jumped from £251m in the company's final quarter last year to £495m for 2011's Q4. Earnings per share also rose from 2.7 pence to 6.1 pence.

The London Stock Exchange responded by drilling shares down more than 1.5 per cent at 196.2 pence a share when trading opened in the City this morning.

BT's global, wholesale and retail divisions all took a revenue dive for the period, while Openreach saw a conservative two per cent climb in sales to £1.2bn for the quarter.

Its global services wing took the biggest bash in Q4, with revenues tumbling 9 per cent to £2.07bn from £2.29bn for the same period a year earlier. BT blamed "early delivery of contract milestones" on that decline.

The company's wholesale biz dropped 5 per cent to £1.02bn during the quarter compared with £1.07bn last year. BT's retail unit pulled in £1.92bn down from £2.01bn in its 2010 Q4 report.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortisation and costs associated with job cuts were up nearly 3 per cent at BT, with the company reporting £1.55bn for the quarter.

“We expect to continue to grow our profits and free cash flow whilst investing to return BT to growth. These results show we are making progress, but we are well aware there remains a lot more to do,” said BT boss Ian Livingston.

In the retail division, BT said broadband net additions for the quarter stood at 162,000.

The company is currently rolling out faster broadband services to customers under the Infinity brand. BT said its customer base for that market stood at 144,000 as of the end of March this year.

"In areas where it is available, almost half of our new broadband customers are now opting for BT Infinity," it added.

On BT's wholesale side of the business, the company said today that it expected to "pass" five million homes in the next few weeks. It aims to double that figure by 2012.

"During 2012 we will continue to expand our 100Mbps fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) services and to test a 1Gbps service and we expect to roughly double our fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) speeds to up to 80Mbps. Future changes are expected to take the potential for FTTC to over 100Mbps," said BT.

The company also posted its full year results this morning, with revenues down 3 per cent to £20.07bn on pre-tax profit that rose 20 per cent to £2.08bn. ®

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