BT Group Annual Pre-tax Profit Rises; In Deal With Warner Bros. Discovery For Premium Sport Offering

Telecommunications firm BT Group plc (BT.L) on Thursday reported profit before tax of 1.963 billion pounds for the full year, higher than 1.804 billion pounds a year ago. Separately, BT said it would form a 50:50 joint venture with Warner Bros. Discovery for a premium sport offering for the UK & Ireland.

Profit after tax, however, declined to 1.274 billion pounds or 12.9p per basic share from 1.472 billion pounds or 14.8p per basic share last year.

Excluding one-time items, earnings were 20.3p per share compared with 18.9p a year earlier.

Adjusted EBITDA, or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization, for the year rose to 7.577 billion pounds from 7.415 billion pounds last year.

Revenue for the year declined 2% to 20.850 billion from 21.331 billion last year.

Adjusted revenue was 20.845 billion pounds compared with 21.370 billion pounds a year ago.

Looking forward, the company reaffirmed its outlook for adjusted EBITDA for 2023 to be at least 7.9 billion pounds and also expects full-year adjusted revenue to grow year-on-year.

The company said it declared a final dividend of 5.33p per share, bringing the the full year total, as promised, to 7.70p per share.

"Our modernisation continues at pace and we are extending our cost savings target of £2bn by end FY24 to £2.5bn by end FY25," said Philip Jansen, Chief Executive.

Separately, BT Group announced its decision to form a 50:50 joint venture company with Warner Bros. to create a sport offering for the UK & Ireland. Towards this, BT Group intends to transfer the operating businesses of BT Sport to Warner Bros. Discovery.

As per the deal, BT will receive 93 million pounds from Warner Bros. Discovery and up to about 540 million pounds by way of an earn-out from the JV, on meeting certain conditions.

"By bringing together the sports content offering of both BT Sport and Eurosport UK, the JV will have one of the most extensive portfolios of premium sports rights including UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, the Premier League, Premiership Rugby, UFC, the Olympic Games, tennis Grand Slams featuring the Australian Open and Roland-Garros, cycling Grand Tours including the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia and the winter sports World Cup season," BT said.

The Transaction is expected to be completed by the end of 2022.

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