BT's Profit, Revenue Up in First Quarter

British Telecommunications PLC (BT) turned in significant increases in revenues in the first quarter ended June 30, 1999. However, the U.K. carrier's profits rose to a lesser degree, as margins for the carrier continue to be driven down by growing competition and increased expenses.

BT's total revenues in the first quarter increased 17.6 percent to reach 4.98 billion [B] pounds (US$7.9 billion [B]), up from 4.2 billion [B] the year earlier. BT credited growth in its mobile and solutions businesses as well as its international ventures for the increased revenues.

At the same time, the U.K. carrier said the cost of developing new businesses and acquiring new mobile customers was reflected in its earnings, which grew only 11.3 percent in the quarter.

BT's pretax profit was 772 million [M] pounds in the first quarter, compared to 723 million [M] pounds in the corresponding quarter of 1998. Earnings per share were 8.3 pence, up from 7.6 pence year on year.

Mobile revenues rose 64 percent in the quarter as BT Cellnet's customer base grew by half a million [M] subscribers. Also strong was Internet and multimedia revenue, which grew at 55 percent. Calls on BT's fixed network were up too, due to increased calls to mobile phones and calls for Internet access. The U.K. carrier's Syncordia Solutions and Syntegra increased their revenues by a combined 27 percent, BT said. International ventures contributed one-third of the increase in revenues, the company said.

BT's stock on the London Stock Exchange dropped 4.3 percent to 1,081 pence within the first hour of trading today.

The press release, from the BT Web site, can be found here.

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