BT predicts boom on the Continent

BRITISH TELECOM expects revenues from its continental European operations to grow tenfold to reach pounds 4bn in the next nine years, the telecom giant said yesterday.

The revenues will come from BT's seven joint ventures on the Continent, which, the group expects, will make total revenues of pounds 13bn in the same period. This would give the combined businesses a 10 per cent share of the European telecom market.

The figures were disclosed as BT yesterday lifted the veil on its European operations for the first time. Introducing the presentation, Alfred Mockett, the president of BT's global operations, said: "We've been going quietly about our business. But now it's time to take the wraps off."

BT said that investment in its joint ventures in France, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and Italy would reach a total of pounds 3bn by the time it peaked. The businesses, which will lose pounds 310m this year, are expected to reach break-even by 2002.

BT said it would also use the joint ventures as the basis for a pan- European communications network that would allow its global services business, Concert, to provide high-speed data transmission to large corporate customers.