A strong second quarter performance in Latin America -- which now accounts for 51 percent of the operator's consolidated revenues -- saw Telefónica return to organic revenue growth for the first time since the first quarter of 2012. Overall revenues increased 0.5 percent year-on-year to €14.42 billion (US$19 billion) during the second quarter, with the LatAm region recording double-digit growth. Taking the first six months together, the figures reveal the ongoing pressures facing the Spanish giant: First-half revenues totalled €28.56 billion ($37.65 billion), down 0.5 percent in organic terms, while OIBDA (operating income before depreciation and amortization) was down 0.4 percent year-on-year at €9.42 billion ($12.43 billion). (See Euronews: Write-Downs Hit Telefónica's Full Year.)
Fierce competition on the mobile front in its domestic market was just one of the factors that saw Orange's revenues and earnings dip in the first six months of this year. Its first-half net income reached €1.20 billion ($1.58 billion), down from €1.90 billion ($2.50 billion) in 2012, while consolidated revenues were down 4.5 percent to €20.63 billion ($27.2 billion). Interestingly, financially ravaged Spain provided one of the high points, with first-half revenues there growing 3.9 percent. Separately, Orange is to appeal against a €2.14 billion ($2.83 billion) tax demand -- which it has to pay now -- relating to a merger that took place during the 2005 financial year.
These are tense times at BT as it prepares to launch its BSkyB Ltd.-challenging premium sports channels, so it will be relieved to have achieved a stable fiscal first quarter, with revenue down 1 percent year-on-year and EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) down 0.8 percent to £1.44 billion ($2.2 billion), which was slightly better than expected, according to this Bloomberg report. Though labor costs were down 3 percent and payments to other operators down 7 percent, other costs rose 8 percent, mainly, says BT, due to the preparation for the launch of its sports channels -- the operator has a lot riding on their success. On the fiber front, BT revealed that its FTTx customer base now stands at 1.5 million, having added 197,000 during the quarter. (See BT's Got Balls,
Euronews: BT Expands FTTX Rollout and BT Buys ESPN's UK, Ireland TV Biz.)