British fixed line incumbent BT has published its financial results for the year ended 31 March 2015, reporting a 2% year-on-year decline in turnover to GBP17.851 billion (USD28.8 billion). Underlying revenue excluding transit meanwhile was down 0.4% against the company’s previous fiscal year. EBTIDA stood at GBP6.721 billion in FY 2015, representing an increase of 3% from a year earlier, with this growth partly attributed to the settlement of ladder pricing arrangements in the quarter ended 31 March 2015; in the operator’s fourth fiscal quarter EBITDA was up 7% y-o-y. Operating profit in FY15 was GBP3.733 billion, representing a 9% increase on the GBP3.421 billion recorded in FY14, while profit before tax was GBP3.172 billion, compared to GBP2.827 billion. Looking to the financial year ahead, BT has said it expects underlying revenue excluding transit to increase, while it has forecast ‘modest growth’ in EBITDA, despite a year-on-year impact of around GBP170 million related to lower income from both ladder pricing and the sale of redundant copper, a higher pensions operating charge and higher leaver costs. Normalised free cash flow meanwhile is expected to be around GBP2.8 billion.
With regards to its operations, BT highlighted the fact that it had delivered its ‘best ever performance for fibre connections in the fourth quarter’, with infrastructure arm Openreach reportedly adding almost half a million premises to its network. BT’s retail business meanwhile delivered a ‘record-breaking’ 266,000 of these connections, bringing its total retail fibre base to 3.010 million, up from 2.105 million. Such a figure represented 39% of BT’s total broadband subscriber base, which stood at 7.713 million at end-March 2015, up from 7.281 million a year earlier. Active consumer fixed voice lines meanwhile numbered 9.447 million, down from 9.650 million.
Commenting on the annual performance, Gavin Patterson, BT’s chief executive, was cited as saying: ‘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. Profit before tax and free cash flow have both grown strongly and we have delivered or beaten the outlook we set at the start of the year.’