UK Phone Giant Feels Upbeat After Upturn

20 May 2004

City analysts have welcomed a slight financial up turn for telecoms giant BT.

The former state telecoms monopoly reported revenues of £4.787 billion ($8.5bn;€7bn) for the fourth quarter ending 31 March.

Although the figure only represented a year-on-year rise of 1% it was up 4.5% on the preceeding quarter.

At £18.52bn, overall annual turnover was little changed from the previous year

"These are good numbers. This is the first time I can say that in about 15 months for BT," said Exane-BNP Paribas analyst, Francois Pierre-Arth.

Over at the Daiwa Institute of Research Europe James Enck commented: "It's just what the market wanted to hear."

The figures enabled BT chief executive Ben Verwaayen to deliver an upbeat message. "We expect the environment to remain challenging but we will also increase our investment to build on the significant progress already achieved."

Although BT dominates the UK's consumer telephone sector its grip is faltering as it faces intense competition from rivals.

The group is also under close and critical scrutiny by industry regulator Ofcom.

In an attempt to offset a decline in its core fix-line rental business BT is seeking to boost revenues from broadband internet and business computing.

It has just agreed to buy capacity from Vodafone, the world's biggest mobile-phone group to offer fixed and wireless services over one phone.

Data sourced from Reuter: additional content by WARC staff