Belfast Telegraph

BT announces new jobs as pre-tax profits hit £873m

By Staff Reporters

BT has said it is taking on another 100 staff in Northern Ireland as it reported better-than-expected earnings for the second quarter.

The telecoms giant continues to attract customers following its acquisition of EE and said adjusted revenue rose 1.1% to £6bn, while pre-tax profit grew 24% to £873m.

BT added 63,000 new customers in the quarter, while EE saw numbers rise by 280,000.

In Northern Ireland, the company said more than 265,000 homes and businesses were now connected to superfast fibre broadband. The firm, which employs around 2,000 people in the province, said it was investing in different technologies to increase broadband speeds and extend the reach of its network.

And it's currently looking for 100 permanent members of staff in areas including procurement, design and delivery and technology services.

BT will hold an open day in BT Tower in Belfast on November 3 as part of its search for new recruits.

Colm O'Neill, the managing director for major business and public sector at BT, said: "We've had a strong performance in the second quarter and these solid results are in line with expectations. BT continues to invest in infrastructure, innovative products and services, and jobs in Northern Ireland to maintain our leadership position in the communications and IT services sector.

"Increasing the availability and speeds of the fibre broadband network is a priority, and throughout this financial year we are installing new technologies in locations as well as delivering broadband projects in conjunction with the Northern Ireland government."

The company said it had also secured key contracts during the second quarter in Northern Ireland, with new customers including the Public Prosecution Service NI, South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust and Account NI in the Department of Finance, which processes purchase orders and invoices for civil service departments.

Chief executive Gavin Patterson said: "This is a positive set of results, both operationally and financially, and we remain on track to achieve our full year outlook.

"We've made good progress on the integration of EE and the delivery of our synergy targets."

Mr Patterson added that the firm has submitted its response to a consultation on digital communications being carried out by Ofcom, which wants an overhaul of BT's Openreach broadband network. BT said its pension deficit rose from £6.2bn in June to £9.5bn.

George Salmon, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: "BT has again reported impressive growth in its consumer division. The group continues to hoover up the majority of new broadband connections and more customers are switching on to BT's TV package.

"However, the elephant in the room is the increase in the pension deficit. With a deficit that size, extra contributions will surely be needed to plug the shortfall after the next review in June. BT also need to service the extra debt taken on to fund the EE acquisition."

Belfast Telegraph