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BT CEO calls for more state assistance after delivering flat numbers

UK operator group BT reported a small revenue decline in Q2 2019 and once more fished for public help with its network investment.

In his comments accompanying its quarterly earnings announcement, Chief Exec Philip Jansen acknowledged that BT needs to raise its game across the board and said all the right things about Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s bold ambitions for the fibre rollout. But he also maintained his predecessor’s stance of indicating that he expects the government to materially contribute to the effort.

“In building a better BT for the future we need to be even more competitive,” said Jansen. “We will continue to take decisive action, including on price, to further strengthen our customer propositions and market position, both to respond to any short-term market pressures and to capitalise on longer-term opportunities.

“On network investment, we welcome the government’s ambition for full fibre broadband across the country and we are confident we will see further steps to stimulate investment. We are ready to play our part to accelerate the pace of rollout, in a manner that will benefit both the country and our shareholders, and we are engaging with the government and Ofcom on this.”

The numbers themselves were nothing to write home about, with both revenues and EBITDA declining by 1%. “BT delivered results in line with our expectations for the quarter, with adjusted EBITDA declines in Consumer and Enterprise partly offset by growth in Global,” said Jansen. “We are on track to meet our outlook for the full year.”

It seems that investors were hoping for a bit more, however, with BT’s shares down 4% at time of writing. New Prime Minister Boris Johnson has indicated a greater inclination to spend big than his predecessors and Jansen seems to be challenging him to put his money where his mouth is.

BTQ2 2019 table

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