A ‘ground-breaking year’ for BT as telecoms giant reveals profits of £3.17bn

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BT boss Gavin Patterson hailed a “ground-breaking year” as the telecoms giant posted a better-than-expected annual profits haul of £3.17bn yesterday.

The 12 per cent increase in adjusted pre-tax profits for the year comes after the group recently secured another three years of Premier League football rights and announced the £12.5bn takeover of mobile phone operator EE.

BT’s consumer division, which has been buoyed by the offer of top-flight football to broadband customers, grew operating profits by 32 per cent to £614m for the year to the end of March, with revenues up 7 per cent to £4.02bn. Chief executive Mr Patterson said: “It’s been a ground-breaking year for BT, in which we’ve made some key decisions and announced some major investments to underpin the future growth of the business.

“We have delivered or beaten the outlook we set at the start of the year.”

However, the group said that good growth in the consumer division “was offset by declines in our other lines of business”, with BT Business hit by lower call and line volumes as customers opted to use internet services instead.

Its wholesale Openreach division saw revenues fall partly due to regulatory price changes while its BT Global Services division was weighed down by a fall in UK public sector revenue.

In the consumer arm, BT said that in the first three months of 2015 it added 121,000 retail broadband customers. It said it had now outpaced rivals Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin for seven quarters in a row on the key industry measure.

The group had its best quarter for superfast fibre broadband growth, with 266,000 net additions of retail customers. Openreach added 455,000 new fibre customers via all communications providers in the period.

Mr Patterson said the network now passes more than three-quarters of the UK. BT said earlier this year it was also planning to upgrade the superfast network to “ultrafast” speeds six times faster than those available.