BT investors to find out if Omicron absences hit broadband rollout

Shareholders will also be keen to learn more about the phone giant’s biggest investor, billionaire Patrick Drahi.

Gemma Bradley
Friday 28 January 2022 16:10
BT to update investors on Thursday. (BT/PA)
BT to update investors on Thursday. (BT/PA)

Investors in telecoms giant BT will be keen to hear whether the company’s full fibre broadband rollout was negatively affected by the Omicron surge over the festive period.

Several companies have reported major staff shortages during the latest wave and BT may be no different.

In November, BT said it had reached six million homes and costed between £250 and £350 per property.

Investors will also want to know whether costs are coming down when the company updates the stock market on Thursday.

There is quiet buzz of speculation lingering in the background that Altice will ultimately make a move even if they’ve been warned regulators will take a long hard look at any plans

Danni Hewson, AJ Bell

In November bosses said they reached a target of £3 billion in cost savings 18 months early.

Current estimates suggest the rollout should be complete by 2026 and the 5G network expansion is half-way through.

Shareholders will also want to find out any information on French billionaire investor Patrick Drahi and whether he has plans to increase his stake in the company.

His stake reached 18% in December, after he steadily built throughout the year through his Altice business, and share prices at BT rose by 28% over the period.

Danni Hewson, AJ Bell financial analyst, said: “There is quiet buzz of speculation lingering in the background that Altice will ultimately make a move even if they’ve been warned regulators will take a long hard look at any plans.

“His interest in the business also gives it an added sheen – there must be something attractive if such an experienced operator is taking a look.”

However, Ms Hewson also said that BT lost ground during the first half of the financial year across other sectors, including its consumer arm, its global cloud and security unit, and business services.

BT revealed in November at its interim results that revenues in the six months to the end of September had fallen 3% to £10.3 billion.

The company also resumed paying a dividend to shareholders, after scrapping it to focus on building reserves for its full fibre broadband rollout.

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