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Take-up of fiber and BT Sport service helps drive revenues up.

BT Reports Fiscal Q3

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1/31/2014
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LONDON -- BT Group plc (BT.L) today announced its results for the third quarter and nine months to 31 December 2013.

Gavin Patterson, Chief Executive, commenting on the third quarter results, said:

"This is an encouraging set of results, with profit before tax up 8%, earnings per share up 12% and growth in revenue.

"Our strategic investments are delivering. It was another record quarter for fibre take-up and there are now more than 18 million premises with access to our fibre. That number will grow further as the BDUK programme progresses.

"Fibre helps SMEs to compete and underpins our TV plans. Our direct BT Sport customer base passed 2.5 million in the quarter and helped to support 6% revenue growth in our Consumer business. We achieved some particularly strong audience figures in December and the exclusive rights to the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League that we have won will further strengthen the appeal of our proposition.

"Outside the UK our businesses in the high-growth regions of the world again delivered double-digit revenue growth.

"The momentum on our cost transformation has enabled us to raise our EBITDA outlook for the year. It is important that we keep up the progress we are making across the group whilst continuing to focus on improving the service we provide to our customers.

Financial highlights for the third quarter:

  • Underlying revenue excluding transit up 2.4% compared with a decline of 3.2% in the prior year
  • EBITDA flat at 1,537m, with cost transformation offsetting the investment in BT Sport
  • Earnings per share up 12% 2013/14 EBITDA now expected to be at the upper end of the 6.0bn-6.1bn range

    Overview
    The results for the quarter demonstrate further progress towards sustainable and profitable revenue growth. Underlying revenue excluding transit was up 2.4% with the benefits from our strategic investments offsetting regulatory pressures.

    BT Global Services delivered a strong performance helped by the timing of contract milestones and supported by our operations in the high-growth regions of the world. BT Retail generated strong revenue growth driven primarily by Consumer and achieved further growth in Business IT services. BT Wholesale reported another good order intake although its revenue was impacted by the migration of services off a previously terminated contract.

    We have now passed more than 18m premises in the UK with our fibre broadband network and are making progress with extending the reach of fibre to rural areas. Openreach achieved 339,000 net fibre connections, an increase of 38%, with around 2.4m homes and businesses now connected. We added 228,000 retail fibre broadband customers, up 14%, and now have around 1.9m customers.

    The UK broadband market grew by 252,000 in the quarter, 4% more than in the third quarter last year, of which our share of net additions was 150,000, or 60%. We have more than 2.5m direct BT Sport customers, as people continue to be attracted to our great value offering, and we achieved some particularly strong audience figures in December. During the quarter we further strengthened our football proposition, winning the exclusive live broadcast rights for the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League for three seasons from 2015/16.

    We continue to make good progress in transforming our cost base and this has enabled us to raise our EBITDA outlook for the year. We are also making further investments to improve our customer service.

    BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA)

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