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BT's Q2 result shows demand holding up amid pandemic

[LONDON] BT Group earned more than expected in the second quarter after people working from home across the UK paid for fiber broadband.

London-based BT reported adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of £1.91 billion (S$3.38 billion) in the second quarter, versus £1.82 billion estimated by a consensus of analysts compiled by Bloomberg.

Second-quarter revenue was £5.36 billion, against a consensus estimate of £5.41 billion.

The company set out Ebitda guidance of "at least £7.9 billion pounds" for 2022/23. Chief executive officer Philip Jansen said restructuring is "firmly on track" and delivered £352 million in savings in the first half. He needs cash to pay for a nationwide fiber optic network upgrade as well as BT's pension plan, the UK's largest in the private sector.

Coronavirus has crimped BT's income from business clients, restricted pay-TV sports sales, and delayed smartphone upgrades.

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Brexit also weighs on the economic outlook and the company is being forced to re-wire its network after the UK banned the use of its key supplier, China's Huawei Technologies, for 5G wireless technology.

Britain's former telecom monopoly bolstered its takeover defences this summer as its market value sank to decade lows.

BT shares have fallen 47.2 per cent since the start of 2020, versus a fall of 26 per cent in the FTSE 100.

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