It was reported yesterday that BT will be slashing 13,000 jobs as it slims-down back office and management roles. Dave Millett from independent telecoms brokerage, Equinox, offered the following expert comment:
“When a chairman describes results as solid, it’s an indication that they are not that good. In BT’s case, we’re looking at their results against a background of their share price halving in less than 2 years. Obviously, a great deal of attention is being grabbed by the 13,000 job cuts, a huge number, plus BT’s plan to move out of its London head office, but is this being announced to deflect attention away from other worrying numbers:
“Turnover down 1%. But in the business division, it’s down 5%, and globally, down 9%. BT is already forecasting it will fall a further 2% this year. Interestingly, total number of mobile customers has fallen, and TV subscriber numbers has also shown a fall, and this despite BT paying a third more for football rights. They now have fewer TV subscribers than at end of 2016.
“Also, BT’s pension deficit is up to £11.3 billion. But they are still making over £6,000 profit a second and they retain the dividend as before. Says a lot about where their priorities lie. The challenge is, as long as Openreach is part of BT and depending on it for funding, the UK will continue to lag behind other countries for our broadband infrastructure, especially ultrafast fibre to business premises.”