BT Group plc (LON:BT) today announced its results for the full year to 31 March 2019.
Key strategic developments
· FTTP build targets increased from 3m to 4m premises passed by March 2021; FTTP ambition increased from 10m to 15m by mid-2020s and remains subject to conditions being right
· EE to launch 5G imminently and on track to go live in 16 cities in 2019 with a range of device partners
· Continued quarterly improvement in customer experience metrics; Group NPS1 up 6.5 points, Right First Time2 up 5.4%
· Initiatives to transform our business are on track; restructuring programme achieved annualised cost savings of £875m
· Openreach passed c.2m premises with Gfast and c.1.2m with FTTP; now passing c.20,000 premises with FTTP per week
· BT Plus takeup remains encouraging with around 1 million subscribers since May 2018 launch
· Consumer fixed ARPC down 0.3% in the quarter to £38.8 reflecting retail market competition; postpaid mobile ARPC down 0.9% in the quarter to £20.9 due to increased mix of SIM only; RGUs per address stable at 2.37
· Mobile churn down to 1.1% reflecting improved retention and successful device launches; fixed churn flat at 1.4%
· Reported revenue of £23,428m and adjusted revenue of £23,459m both down 1%4 as growth in Consumer was offset by regulated price reductions in Openreach and declines in our enterprise businesses, in particular in fixed voice
· Reported profit before tax of £2,666m, up 2%; adjusted3 EBITDA of £7,392m, down 2%4
· Net cash inflow from operating activities of £4,256m, down 14% mainly due to pension deficit payments, increased capital expenditure and lower EBITDA; normalised free cash flow3 of £2,440m, down 18%
· Capital expenditure £3,963m, up £441m, of which £213m relates to BDUK grant funding deferral including the change in take-up assumption announced in Q2, and the remainder primarily to increased investment in FTTP
· Proposed final dividend of 10.78p pence per share, giving a full-year dividend of 15.4p; unchanged on last year
· Outlook for 2019/20: adjusted3 revenue down c.2%, adjusted3 EBITDA £7.2bn – £7.3bn, capital expenditure5 £3.7bn – £3.9bn and normalised free cash flow3 of £1.9bn – £2.1bn
Philip Jansen, Chief Executive, commenting on the results, said
“BT delivered solid results for the year, in line with our guidance, with adjusted profit growth in Consumer and Global Services offset by declines in Enterprise and Openreach.
“Since joining the company three months ago, it has become clear to me just how fundamental BT’s role is in connecting our society. While we are really well positioned in a very challenging and competitive UK market, we have a lot of work to do to ensure we remain successful and deliver long term sustainable value to our shareholders. We need to invest to improve our customer propositions and competitiveness. We need to invest to stay ahead in our fixed, mobile and core networks, and we need to invest to overhaul our business to ensure that we are using the latest systems and technology to improve our efficiency and become more agile.
“Our aim is to deliver the best converged network and be the leader in fixed ultrafast and mobile 5G networks. We are increasingly confident in the environment for investment in the UK. We have already announced the first 16 UK cities for 5G investment. Today we are announcing an increased target to pass 4m premises with ultrafast FTTP technology by 2020/21, up from 3m, and an ambition to pass 15 million premises by the mid-2020s, up from 10 million, if the conditions are right, especially the regulatory and policy enablers.
“For 2018/19 the Board has decided to hold the full year dividend unchanged at 15.4p per share. The Board also expects to hold the dividend unchanged in respect of the current financial year given our outlook for earnings and cash flow.”