May 9, 2019

Opening Quote: BT holds its dividend and outlines push into 5G and fibre

BT's mobile network EE meanwhile will launch 5G imminently, it confirmed, with the service to go live in 16 cities this year. The dividend is to be held steady not just for the 2018-19 financial year but the next one as well. For the financial year just finished, revenues were down 1 per cent to £23.4bn, and although pre-tax profits climbed 2 per cent to £2.7bn, its adjusted earnings metric fell by the same amount to £7.4bn as declines in its enterprise and Openreach units offset growth in consumer and international. For the new year, adjusted revenues are set for a further 2 per cent fall while adjusted earnings will drop to £7.2bn-£7.3bn because of "Challenging market conditions, regulatory pressure" and a move away from low-margin products. Wm Morrison had a tough first quarter, as it braces for an even more difficult one ahead. The contribution of its retail business to like-for-like sales growth slowed to a paltry 0.2 per cent in the first quarter, down from 0.6 per cent in the final three months of last year and worse than expected.

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