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BT posts 9% quarterly profits rise


Telecoms and media giant cuts 2012 revenue outlook

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BT Group has posted a pretax profit rise of 9 percent in the three months to September-end.

In a statement on Thursday, the telecommunications and media giant also said it was cutting is revenue outlook for 2012 as its European corporate clientele continues to curb spending. Second quarter revenues fell 2 percent to £4.4 billion, BT said.

Nonetheless, chief executive Ian Livingston said that cost-cutting has enabled the group to maintain its full-year earnings forecasts.

BT said it had incurred one-off charges of £85 million against revenue relating to the 2011 and 2012 financial years following the institution of the ‘ladder pricing’ ruling which banned BT from charging mobile operators for calls to non-geographic numbers.

In a subscriber update, BT Group said it had added 81,000 retail broadband customers. Additionally, over 12 million homes have access to BT's fibre broadband with more than 950,000 now connected.

"We now expect high-speed fibre broadband to be available to two-thirds of UK premises during spring 2014, more than 18 months ahead of our original schedule, and we are recruiting more than 1,000 engineers in 2012 to help deliver this," Livingston added.

On the broadcasting front, television service BT Vision, increased its subscriber base by 21,000 to over 750,000 subscribers. In an earlier update, the company said announced that it had secured the rights to broadcast live Premier League football matches for the first time, securing the rights to 38 matches a season from 2013-14.

Société Générale analyst Ottavio Adorisio expected the management to put an emphasis on revenue and costs. “BT no longer expects an improvement in year-over-year revenue trends (ex-transit) versus last year. However, they have not yet quantified the shortfall,” he said.

“We expected management to put the emphasis back on costs. It is now critical for management to overcome hurdles of a less flexible cost structure in Southern Europe and keep a firm grip on receivables,” Adorisio added.

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