BT Group unveils rise in annual and fourth quarter profits

BT Group's annual pre-tax profit was up 11 per cent on the previous year as the telecoms company kept a tight rein on costs.

BT Group's annual pre-tax profit was up 11 per cent on the previous year as the telecoms company kept a tight rein on costs.

The company, which Thursday revealed it would offer free sports channels to broadband customers, saw profit for the 12 months to end of March come to £2.6bn despite a 5.0% year-on-year fall in revenue to £18.2bn.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) climbed 2.0% to £6.1bn and earnings per share increased 12% to 26.6p.

In the first three months of the year, pre-tax profit jumped 21% to £833m while revenue dropped 2.0% to £4.7bn. EBITDA grew 4.0% to £1.6bn and earnings per share rose 22% to 8.3p.

Chief Executive, Ian Livingston, said the company was working to improve its long-term profitability.

"In an environment where it is easier to focus only on the short-term, we are investing in our future and delivering growth in profits and dividends," he said.

In an effort to steal customers away from competitors, the group is offering its sports channels, BT Sport 1, BT Sport 2 and ESPN, free to any BT broadband consumer.

The channels will broadcast live and exclusive football matches from multiple leagues along with FA Cup ties, the UEFA Europa League, Scottish Premier League and WTA women's tennis.

"We are driving fibre across the UK, launching high quality sports channels, investing in the high-growth regions of the world and will use our wi-fi capabilities and 4G spectrum to make sure our customers will be the best connected," Livingston added.

"We have created around 3,000 new jobs in the UK over the last year to support these investments."

Net debt at the end of the financial year came to £7.7bn, a reduction of £1.2bn compared to last year, despite the increase in investments.

The company proposed a full-year dividend of 9.5p, a 14% rise on the previous year.

RD

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