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What's big, rich and goes down on you in every department? BT

Sales slide across the board - but, hey: top-tier footie!

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BT admitted this morning that fiscal 2013 was a year of declining sales across every division, although profits were given a slight uplift due to cost cutting.

The national telco told City slickers it closed its fourth quarter, ended 31 March 2013, on a low: revenue dipped two per cent on the same period a year ago to £4.78bn, and profit before tax fell five per cent to £687m.

For the 12 months as a whole, BT reported a five per cent drop, year on year, in turnover to £18.25bn, but operating profit climbed two per cent to £2.9bn and profit before tax also nudged up two points to £2.5bn.

Operating costs dropped 14 per cent to £4.1bn, and capital expenditure dropped six per cent to £2.43bn.

"The decline in underlying revenue excluding transit this year reflects lower revenues from calls and lines, the tough conditions in Europe and the financial services sector and regulatory price reductions," said BT in a blurb with the numbers.

The telco giant said its Global Services revenues slid eight per cent for the year to £7.1bn; BT Retail dipped two per cent to £7.39bn; BT Wholesale fell nine per cent to £3.92bn; and Open Reach dipped one per cent to £5bn. Inter-company trading and other group items took £4.8bn off the top line.

BT took a charge of £151m during the year following regulator Ofcom's determinations on historic Ethernet pricing.

A restructuring programme, kicked off in BT's Q3, cost the biz £204m, compared to a similar £64m scheme in fiscal 2012. The latest shakeup involved "rationalising and transforming our resources, processes, networks and systems".

BT Global Services posted an operating loss of £85m for the year, compared to a profit from operations of £88m in the previous fiscal period, but BT Retail saw operating profits climb nine per cent to £1.42bn.

"Business revenue was flat in the quarter and down three per cent in the year. The improved trend in the quarter was due to ten per cent growth in IT services and a slower decline in voice revenues," we're told.

The Wholesale division reported a five per cent decline in operating profit to £604m, and Open Reach was down one per cent to £1.36bn.

The comms goliath's earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were £6.18bn in fiscal 2013, up two per cent on 2012, but it forecasts a "small decline" for fiscal 2014 due to investments in BT Sport, which launches this summer with Premier league footie coverage to rival Sky, and higher pension costs.

And BT will start the next phase of what seems to be a perpetual restructuring project, which aims to slash £200m in expenses per year by fiscal 2015 but will result in costs of £400m for fiscal 2014. ®

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