1 August 2003 London -- BT has announced that its first quarter trading figures ( to 30 June) are generally positive: "Earnings are up, profits are up, turnover has been maintained and debt is down again."
Earnings per share were 4.1p - an improvement of 64%. Pre-tax pofit was GBP502 million - up by 56%. Group turnover was maintained at GBP4.59 billion, while net debt was reduced below GBP 9 billion - GBP 4.4 billion less than at 30 June 2002.
The company has generated "free cash" of GBP 618 million - compared with GBP 206 million last year.
BT chief executive Ben Verwaayen said, "Our focus on financial discipline, defending our core business and creating new business streams continues to deliver results. I am pleased to report earnings per share growth of 64% on flat revenues, and both the improved free cash flow and net debt reduction.
"The group reached another key milestone early, achieving one million broadband connections in June. This was also a further record quarter for the corporate order book and the group continues to deliver efficiency savings throughout the business."
Earnings per share and profit before tax, after goodwill amortisation and exceptional items, for Q1 were 4.1 pence (3.2 pence in 2002) and GBP 498 million (GBP 384 million in 2002) respectively.
The Guardian newspaper reported that James Enck, an analyst at Daiwa Institute of Research, had told Reuters, "We think BT is indeed one of the best companies in the sector, but we find it very difficult to justify getting into the stock at anywhere near current levels."