Tough fiscal year for BT but investment in fibre to reach £12BN | Major Businesses | Business
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Ending a financial year where it has had to bear the strain of keeping the nation’s home networks up and running for learning, working and entertainment, UK incumbent telco BT has posted falls in its overall revenue and profit profile.

btcorporate 28july2017And as it was reporting on the fiscal year 2019/20 ended 31 March 2020, BT revealed that it would embark on a ‘radical’ modernisation plan, phasing out legacy products so that it could extend its fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) network and 5G footprint and be a leaner, simpler and more agile organisation. Indeed, BT chief executive Philip Jansen said that going forward BT would be making the UK’s largest infrastructure investment in a generation in the form of a £12 billon build programme that BT expects to complete before the end of the decade.

For the fiscal year ended 31 March 2020, BT reported revenue of almost £23 billion, down 2% annually mainly due said the company to reflecting the impact of regulation, declines in legacy products, strategic reductions in low margin business and divestments. Adjusted EBITDA was £7.9 billion, down 3% compared with the previous fiscal year due to lower revenue and investment in customer experience, partly offset by cost savings from transformation programmes and reported profit before tax was £2.35 billion, marginally down year-on-year and including charges of £95 million as a result of Covid-19. Net cash inflow from operating activities totalled £6.3 billion, up 47% due to lower pension contributions and one-off cash flows.

Yet the company wanted to stress that despite having to deal with the effects of Covid-19, results were in line with expectations and that the year had a number of highlights. The company noted that it had completed the third phase of a £1.6 billon network rollout, passing around 32,000 FTTP locations each week totalling 2.6 million in the last year. 5G was now live in 80 cities and large towns and subject to the right conditions BT expected to more than double its current footprint by March 2021.

Commenting on the year-end results in a world that he said has been changed for everyone by Covid-19, BT chief executive Philip Jansen said that he was “immensely proud” in the company and how it has responded to the challenges the Covid-19 crisis has presented.

“Our strong and resilient networks, both fixed and mobile, have proved critical to the continuing functioning of the UK economy, providing unrivalled connectivity and services for the nation,” he said. “The continued delivery of market leading customer experiences remains core to our success, with a focus on driving the take-up of converged product offerings such as Halo, our premium converged offering for homes and businesses. In the short period since launch, Halo now represents over 30% of our BT consumer broadband base.”