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Mobe-hungry BT's sales slip over Xmas amid EE buyout silence

Firm can't ignore £7bn pensions deficit much longer

Sales at one-time state telco monopoly BT fell by three per cent to £4.48bn in its third quarter, the company announced today.

The decline, as compared to last year's Q3 revenues, reflects a "modest" decline in BT's business revenue with more customers moving to data and VoIP services, it said. The company also blamed foreign exchange movements for the fall in sales.

EBITDA* earnings were £1.57bn, an increase of two per cent compared with the same quarter in 2013.

BT also unveiled plans to tackle its burgeoning pension deficit of £7bn, intending to pay back £2bn over the next three years as part of a 16-year recovery plan.

The company is forecasting flat revenue for the full year of around £18.2bn, but said it expects growth in 2015/16 – not surprising given its forthcoming £12.5bn acquisition of EE.

Gavin Patterson, chief executive, said: “Mobility is a key growth area for us. We are making good progress on our due diligence in relation to a possible acquisition of EE, and will make further announcements in due course. In the meantime, our consumer mobile launch plans remain on track.”

BT is also likely to be dogged by its £7bn pensions deficit.

Revenue for BT's Global Services outsourcing biz fell eight per cent to £1.7bn. In the UK, it dropped 18 per cent "reflecting lower public sector revenue".

BT Consumer fared better, with sales increasing seven per cent to £1.1bn "primarily driven by growth in broadband and TV". Openreach sales dropped by one per cent to £1.25bn.

Patterson said: “Openreach achieved the highest growth in the number of landlines on record. It was also our best ever quarter for fibre broadband net additions." ®

*Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation. So now you know.


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