BT profits drop despite customer growth

Whilst customers continue to sign up for broadband and TV services, reported profits plummet 16% and revenues fall by 1%

Telecoms giant BT today reported financial results for its first quarter, showing that the increase in customer subscriptions has not translated into profits.

For the three month period ending 30 June, revenues were just shy of £4.45bn – down 1% from the first quarter of 2012 – but reported profits before tax plummeted 16% to £449m from £537m last year.

Every division of BT saw a drop in revenues, apart from BT Retail which remained unchanged. However, the firm did manage to wipe off some of its debts, falling by over £1bn in the past year.

The company’s management remained positive about performance for the quarter, however, focusing on the number of customers it had signed up.

In terms of broadband, BT Openreach signed up 189,000 customers over the three months – up 20% compared to the same period last year – meaning its network now reaches out to 17.8m premises. Half of these subscriptions were directly through BT Retail as well, rather than a wholesale partner, meaning its own broadband service now goes to 6.8m homes and businesses.

The BT Sport TV channels have also attracted a large number of customers, with more than 500,000 signing up prior its launch. The free sports channel is due to go live on August 1st.

The results were the last under the leadership of Ian Livingston, who is stepping down as CEO in September to join the House of Lords as minister for trade and investment. He will be succeeded by Gavin Patterson, who currently runs BT Retail.

“I am immensely proud to have led BT over the last five years,” he said. “The foundations are in place for an exciting future and I’m confident that BT will make even more progress under Gavin’s leadership and our talented team.”

Read more on Telecoms networks and broadband communications