BT reports 19% drop in annual profit before tax

11 May 2017

UK-based BT Group has published its financial results for the year ended 31 March 2017, with the company saying that these were in line with the revised outlook it had issued in January this year, except for normalised free cash flow, which it noted was ‘GBP300 million [USD388 million] ahead due to earlier than expected customer collections that will reverse next year’.

Reported revenue for the twelve-month period increased by 27% to GBP24.1 billion, although underlying revenue excluding transit adjusted for the acquisition of EE was actually down 0.2% year-on-year. Adjusted EBITDA in the fiscal year totalled GBP7.65 billion, representing an annual increase of 18%, with underlying EBITDA adjusted for the acquisition of EE falling 2.9%, while reported pre-tax profit was GBP2.35 billion, down 19% y-o-y. Looking to the financial year ahead, BT has said it expects underlying revenue to be broadly flat, while EBITDA is forecast at between GBP7.5 billion and GBP7.6 billion.

In operational terms, BT reported a total retail broadband subscriber base of 9.3 million as at end-March 2017, up from nine million a year earlier, with its retail fibre base now accounting for more than half of that, or 4.9 million (March 2016: 4.1 million). The number of fixed lines in service fell over the course of the fiscal year, however, from 13.6 million to 13.3 million, with consumer lines representing the bulk of those – 10.3 million – at 31 March 2017. In the mobile arena, meanwhile, BT reported a total of 27.6 million subscribers, down from 28.0 million at end-March 2016, with an increase in post-paid and MVNO accesses (up 5% y-o-y to 16.9 million and 1% to 3.7 million, respectively) failing to offset a more than 16% annual decline in pre-paid subscribers, which fell to 6.9 million.

United Kingdom, BT Group (incl. Openreach)