Belfast Telegraph

TalkTalk still feeling effects of cyber attack as revenues slip 3.2%

Telecoms group TalkTalk has said revenues slipped in its first quarter despite adding 20,000 broadband customers as it continues to recover from a cyber attack nearly two years ago.

The firm posted a 3.2% fall in revenues in the three months to the end of June, with good growth in its corporate and wholesale broadband business offset by a weaker performance in its consumer arm.

It said consumer revenues were being impacted by re-contracting on to new fixed low-price plans and a smaller average broadband customer base.

But the firm said: "These effects are expected to moderate as the base grows, and we drive fibre take-up and other products such as TV.

"As a result, we continue to expect full-year revenues to grow."

TalkTalk added that it now has 1.3 million customers on fixed-price broadband plans and has a lower rate of so-called churn of customers leaving the group - at 1.2% against 1.4% in the previous year.

The group's shares were hammered in May after it posted a lower-than-expected rise in annual profits and warned over the next year's results , sending the stock slumping as much as 8% in one day.

It slashed investor dividend payouts and flagged that full-year earnings in 2017/18 would come in up to 11% lower, as it embarks on an investment drive to attract more customers.

TalkTalk has been battling to turn itself around after being rocked by a cyber attack in 2015, which saw the personal data of nearly 160,000 people accessed by hackers.

It led to tens of thousands of customers deserting the firm and cost it £60 million.

Shares slipped 1% after the first-quarter update.

TalkTalk's annual report recently revealed details of a bumper final year of pay for former boss Dido Harding, who stepped down on April 1.

She earned £1.1 million in pay and bonuses, having been handed a 9% pay rise to a £600,000 annual salary last July, while she was also awarded a £235,000 annual bonus and £244,000 in shares from a long-term incentive plan.

Ms Harding decided last year to donate her annual bonus to charity after the attack, although it is understood she opted to retain the 2016/17 bonus.

But directors volunteered a discount of around 30% on their annual bonuses for 2016/17.

Ms Harding has been replaced by Tristia Harrison as chief executive in a shake-up that has seen Sir Charles Dunstone step up from chairman to executive chairman.

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