BT's Q2, First Half Results Exceed Expectations

Citing revenue growth in mobile communications, data traffic and its international ventures, British Telecommunications PLC today reported profit and revenue above analyst expectations.

BT turned in operating profit of 869 million pounds (US$1.41 billion) for its second fiscal quarter ended Sept. 30, up from 857 million pounds in the comparable quarter of last year, the telecommunications carrier said in a statement today.

Earnings per share before exceptional items and goodwill amortization were 9.1 pence, up 3.9 percent from the 8.8 pence it reported in the year-earlier quarter, BT said. The results exceeded market expectations, according to an analyst at stock broker Investec Henderson Crosthwaite.

Second quarter revenue, meanwhile, rose 21 percent to 5.3 billion pounds, up from 4.4 billion pounds in the year earlier period.

After the results were announced, BT's share price shot up more that 70 pence, or 6 percent, to a record 1,218 pence in mid-morning trading on the London stock exchange.

For the half year ended Sept. 30, BT reported a slight increase in operating profit to 1.7 billion pounds, up from 1.67 billion pounds in the corresponding period last year. Earnings per share before exceptional items and goodwill amortization reached 17.8 pence, up from 16.4 pence. Revenues grew to 10.3 billion pounds, up from 8.6 billion in last year's first half.

In the U.K., BT's mobile revenue grew 63 percent as its BT Cellnet customer base grew by more than 1.4 million in the half year. Fixed-line calls are also growing as a result increased calls from fixed-line to the mobile networks, Internet traffic and international transit calls. Price cuts have limited the revenue growth in the domestic fixed-line market, however, BT said.

BT can be reached in London at +44-171-356-5000 or on the World Wide Web at http://www.bt.com.

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