BT profits soar despite a dip in revenues

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The Independent Online

BT shares yesterday rose 4 per cent to a three-and-a-half-year high as the telecoms giant boosted profits, despite another dip in revenues and some renewed concern over its pension liabilities.

Pre-tax profits leapt 48 per cent to £652m in the three months to December on sales of £4.77bn, down 5 per cent.

Chief executive Ian Livingston improved margins sharply and now expects to hit 2013 profit targets a year earlier than expected.

BT added 262,000 broadband home and business customers, taking its base to 6.1 million, underlining its position as the UK's biggest broadband provider. It also added 39,000 subscribers to its BT Vision pay-TV service, against rival BSkyB's 40,000 in the same period.

International orders from corporate customers in Asia-Pacific and Latin America are up more than 50 per cent. Turnover fell as regulation pushed down prices and customers made fewer calls.

Some analysts were concerned about the pension deficit jumping to £4.1bn from £1.5bn nine months earlier.

The shares rose 8.1p to 214p.