BT holds down operating costs in first quarter to realize 33% net profit

Things are tough all over for telecoms as the economic slump continues, but BT (NYSE: BT) saw some bright glimmers of hope in the first quarter of fiscal 2010 that ended June 30. While the company's revenues decreased 4 percent year over year, a focus on tightening the operating budget and knocking down its net debt meant BT's net profits climbed 33 percent to £284 million ($444 million).

The operator held steady on its fiber to the home (FTTH) deployments in the UK as well.

"We have made an acceptable start to the year, delivering improved financial results while investing in the future of the business," said Ian Livingston, Chief Executive of BT. "...We hit the first major milestone in our fibre roll out, passing over 1.5m premises, and we are now running at an average rate of around 100,000 premises passed every week."

Key points of today's results included:

  • Revenue of £5,006m, down 4%
  • Operating costs reduced by £291m
  • Adjusted EBITDA of £1,399m, up 6% 
  • Adjusted profit before tax of £446m, up 17%
  • Adjusted earnings per share of 4.4p, up 16%, reported earnings per share of 3.7p, up 32%
  • Free cash flow of £415m, up £537m
  • Net debt of £8.9bn, down by more than £1.6bn
  • Fibre roll out passes over 1.5m UK premises in July
  • Full year outlook remains unchanged

"Despite the challenging environment, these financial results underpin our outlook for the full year," Livingston said.

BT stocks rose on the news and remained up through Thursday's trading.

For more:
- Wall Street Journal has this story
- AP details BT's results here
- see the earnings release

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