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Full Year Financial Results: April 2004 - March 2005
Our results show that despite a challenging marketplace we are growing the business - with improved profit, revenue and cash flow - and delivering on our promise to increase the dividend we pay shareholders.
· New wave turnover up 32%
· Group turnover* up 2%
· Profit before tax** up 4%
· Earnings per share** up 7%
· Free cash flow over ?2bn, up 10%
· Net debt down 8%
· Full year dividend of 10.4 pence per share, up 22%
· 5 million broadband connections in early April
New wave business: was 24% of the group's full year turnover, compared with 18% last year. New wave growth has outpaced the impact of the decline in traditional for the fifth quarter in a row, proving that our strategy is working.
We won ?7.2bn of networked IT services contracts during the year. Not only are we convincing customers to move from traditional to new wave services, we are also winning landmark contracts with companies like Reuters and Bristol Myers Squibb. But it is not just about big contracts. We won 120 solutions contracts in the last quarter alone, each valued between ?1m - ?5m, which shows the breadth and depth of our capabilities.
BT Global Services achieved its first annual profit - a turnaround of more than ?500m in the past three years. It is also growing at twice the rate of the market, which is a superb achievement. The acquisitions of Infonet, Albacom and Radianz will improve further our global reach and expertise.
During the year we more than doubled the number of broadband DSL connections, hitting our five million target a year early. This achievement contributed to a 17% increase in BT Wholesale's external revenue.
BT Retail signed-up a record 785,000 new consumer and business broadband customers, which is 29% of the total wholesale DSL lines sold in the year. This increased to 32% in the last quarter which is encouraging, although rivals continually undercut prices in this fiercely competitive market.
We more than doubled the number of mobile customers to over 372,000 during the year, with turnover up 45%. Mobility is very important to our future plans, paving the way for the launch of our first fully-converged mobile handset - known as Project Bluephone. See: http://mobilityandconvergence.intra.bt.com/bluephone.htm
Traditional business: underlying turnover declined by 5%***, partly due to the fact that we are migrating customers to new services.
The demand for traditional voice services, where we currently generate good profits, is declining. We are losing about 4000 customers a day to other telephony providers. While BT will never be the cheapest option, we have to provide the best value for money. That means a competitive price, coupled with excellent customer service.
Cost leadership: programmes to improve cost efficiency across the company saved ?400m in the year. Even after these levels of reduction, there was 2% decline in our trading performance. Our efficiency efforts must continue as savings of at least ?300- ?400m are required in each of the next three years.
Capital expenditure: an increasing proportion of last year's ?3bn budget was spent on broadband and ICT. We will need to take some tough choices this year so that an even greater proportion of money is available for new wave and 21CN, thereby reducing the amount spent on traditional areas.
Free cash flow: we generated over ?2bn of cash, 10% better than last year. It funded shareholder dividends, the share buyback programme, purchase of Albacom and Infonet, and enabled us to reduce debt by ?600m to below ?8bn.
Dividend: we are increasing the full year dividend to 10.4 pence per share, which is 22% up on last year and excellent news for shareholders. Subject to company performance, we expect to continue increasing dividend payments.
allshare 2005: we narrowly missed our targets to decrease customer dissatisfaction and increase earnings per share. However, the Board has made a discretionary allocation of 0.5% of the 2004/05 profits (totalling ?11m) to allshare and allshare international. Free shares will be awarded to UK participants at the end of June, and equivalent value cash awards payable in 3 years' time to people outside the UK.
These results show the progress we are making as a business - and this has accelerated in the last quarter of the year.
In the year ahead we have opportunities to improve performance through being customer focused, winning new business, and being innovative. At the same time, we have to work smarter to reduce costs and improve efficiencies.
This is the only way we can transform the company as fast as the market demands.
Group Finance Director
19 May 2005
· * - excluding impact of acquisitions and mobile termination rate reductions
· ** - before exceptional items and goodwill amortisation
· *** - excluding impact of mobile termination rate reductions
· See financial results webcast from 10.00 to 11.00 (BST) today, also Ben and Hanif talking on Vision TV at: http://today.intra.bt.com/today/video/Q404/
· Dial-in to BT's telephone news service, Newsline, on 0800 500 005
· News release is available at: www.btplc.com/news
Issued by BT Group Communications to all BT people