Telecoms behemoth BT made a solid start to its fiscal year, with first-quarter profit up almost two-fifths, despite a four per cent revenue decline.
Total sales for the three months to the 30 June stood at a little over £5bn, down from more than £5.2bn last year. But reported pre-tax profit rose 38 per cent year on year to £375m. Each of BT's four divisions posted a single-digit revenue decline, but three of them saw rises in EBITDA.
The telco's star performer was its Global Services wing, which turned over more than £2bn in Q1, making it BT's largest unit. This represented a three per cent sales drop on 2009 – the narrowest decline of all the divisions. Adjusted EBITDA more than doubled annually to £130m.
BT Retail saw revenue fall seven per cent to £1.7m, while EBITDA was down two per cent to £442m. BT Wholesale saw sales drop six per cent to £1.1bn, with EBITDA up fractionally to £339m.
Openreach, which manages BT's national local access network, was by far the carrier's most profitable enterprise. The unit saw turnover decline four per cent to £1.2bn, but EBITDA rose eight per cent to £511m. Across the whole company, BT also reduced net debt to less than £8.9bn – a drop of 16 per cent from Q1 last year.
BT chief executive Ian Livingston said: “We have made an acceptable start to the year, delivering improved financial results while investing in the future of the business. Despite the challenging environment, these financial results underpin our outlook for the full year.”
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