BSkyB beats forecasts as customer numbers jump

Profits at broadcaster and broadband group British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) beat forecasts in the first half of the year, helping the firm to hike its dividend by a fifth.

Profits at broadcaster and broadband group British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) beat forecasts in the first half of the year, helping the firm to hike its dividend by a fifth.

Adjusted operating profit gained 8.0% from £601m to £647m during the six months to December 31st, ahead of analysts' forecasts for £632m. Adjusted basic earnings per share increase 18% to 28.3p.

The bottom line was helped by progress in cost initiatives and efficiency improvements; these resulted in adjusted other operating costs as a percentage of sales falling by 200 basis points year-on-year.

Revenue during the period rose 5.0% from £3,364m to £3,533m. The company said that results were driven by its multi-product strategy which is delivering "good operational growth".

The interim dividend was raised by 20% to 11p per share.

Subscription product numbers increased by 615,000 in the second quarter alone, helping the total subscription product base rise 10% year-on-year to 29.5m.

Some 88,000 new customers were added in the second quarter, bringing the total number of customers to 10.74m, up 271,000 year-on-year. Meanwhile, the average revenue per user (ARPU) increased by £24 on the previous year to £568.

"We have delivered another good performance in the first half with strong progress across the board. In what remains a tough consumer environment, our broadly-based growth strategy is working well," said Chief Executive Jeremy Darroch.

"Although we expect the consumer environment in 2013 to remain challenging, we have a strong set of plans for the year ahead. We will keep getting better on screen, further improve our products and services for customers and maintain our focus on efficiency. The business is in good shape to continue to deliver for customers and shareholders."

Shares were up 2.24% at 828.15p in early trading on Thursday.

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