BT revenues and earnings slip as virus weighs on trading

Henry Saker-Clark, PA City Reporter

Telecommunications giant BT Group has revealed slumps in revenue and earnings over the nine months to the end of 2020 due to the pandemic.

BT told investors that revenues slid by 7% to £16 billion for the three quarters to December 31 after its consumer and enterprise operations were impacted by virus restrictions.

The closure of retail stores, pubs and clubs for large parts of the period negatively weighed on its revenues, it said.

BT added that mobile revenues for the period were also impacted by reduced roaming, amid a sharp decline in travel.

It posted a 5% fall in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation to £5.6 billion after the impact of lower revenues was only partially offset by sports rights rebates and its cost-saving programme.

The company said the figures were in line with its targets and its remains on track to meet its expectations for the year despite worse-than-expected restrictions.

It said it was boosted by the rapid rollout of its Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) network by its Openreach division, expanding to 42,000 sites each week to take it to 4.1 million by the end of the period.

Philip Jansen, chief executive of BT, told investors the group expects “no material impact” from the Brexit deal as said he expects profitability to rebound.

Mr Jansen said: “During the current Covid-19 pandemic, BT has continued to deliver for our customers and invest in our networks, our modernisation programme, and our products and services in recognition of the ever-increasing need for improved and faster connectivity.

“We delivered results in line with our expectations for the third quarter and remain on track to deliver our 2020/21 outlook despite even greater Covid-19 restrictions than previously forecast.

“BT has shown again that it has the spirit and determination to step up and deliver for our customers, keeping them connected with a range of initiatives.”

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