Operating cost reductions boost BT’s profits in FY2011/12

10 May 2012

British fixed line incumbent BT has released financial results for the fiscal year ended 31 March 2012, revealing an improved bottom line, despite a dip in revenue. For the twelve-month period under review BT generated an adjusted turnover of GBP19.307 billion (USD30.4 billion), down 4% compared to the GBP20.076 billion reported for the previous financial year, with the company noting that underlying revenue excluding transit decreased by 1.9%, which it said reflected ‘lower revenue from calls and lines and the challenging environment in certain markets’. A reduction in operating costs helped to boost profits for the period, however, with BT revealing that total operating costs before depreciation and amortisation and specific items were 6% lower than in FY2010/11, having fallen to GBP13.630 billion. Further, the telco noted that it had benefited from a number of specific items in the year to end-March 2012 which resulted in a one-off gain of GBP166 million. Annual pre-tax profits for 2011/12 stood at GBP2.445 billion, representing a 42% increase against the year ago period. Capital expenditures for the financial year were GBP2.594 billion, flat compared to the GBP2.590 billion the company invested in 2010/11.

Fixed line voice accesses continued to decline over the year, and at 31 March 2012 BT counted 15.470 million such connections, down from 16.719 million a year earlier. Residential users accounted for the bulk of these – 10.919 million, down from 11.802 million – while business/corporate lines totalled 4.551 million, having fallen from 4.917 million at March 2011. Uptake of the operator’s broadband services remains a bright spot, however, with BT noting that over the year it added 589,000 retail broadband customers, which it claimed represented 54% of broadband market net additions in the UK; at end-March 2012 BT’s broadband customer base stood at 6.280 million. The telco was also keen to highlight the growth of its fibre-based services, with BT CEO Ian Livingston noting that more than ten million premises now have access to such connections, with the telco having reached such a coverage level ahead of schedule. Further, the executive noted, more than 500,000 customers have upgraded to BT’s fibre broadband service, which is offered under the ‘BT Infinity’ banner.

Commenting on the annual performance as a whole, Mr Livingston said: ‘In what remains a challenging environment we have delivered another year of growth in profits and free cash flow. Our financial strength has allowed us to invest in the business, make a GBP2 billion payment into the pension fund, reward employees and deliver double digit growth in shareholder returns.’

United Kingdom, BT Group (incl. Openreach)