BT reports 'better-than-expected' annual profits

The telecom giant posted an unexpected annual profit haul of £3.17bn on Thursday, mostly heaped from football rights and the EE takeover.

BT boss Gavin Patterson hailed a ground-breaking year as the company saw a 12 per cent increase in adjusted pre-tax profits for the year after it recently secured another three years of Premier League football rights and announced the £12.5bn takeover of mobile phone operator EE.

The company also claimed it was outpacing rivals such as Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin in winning new broadband customers as it added 121,000 customers in the first three months of 2015.

Patterson said: “It's been a ground-breaking year for BT, in which we've made some key decisions and announced some major investments to underpin the future growth of the business.

“We have delivered or beaten the outlook we set at the start of the year.”

BT also connected a record 455,000 new fibre broadband customers in the first quarter of the year, a 31 per cent increase on the same period last year.

Patterson said the network now passes more than three-quarters of the UK. BT said earlier this year that it was also planning to upgrade the superfast network to ultrafast speeds six times faster than those currently available.

However, the group said that good growth in the consumer division “was offset by declines in our other lines of business”, with BT Business hit by lower call and line volumes as customers opted to use internet services instead.

BT will show Champions League football from this autumn after snapping up the rights for £897 million. It recently agreed to pay £960 million to show 42 Premier League games a season for three years from 2016-17, up from 38 games currently.

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