Belfast Telegraph

Sky profits up 12% to £1.1bn amid European growth

Sky has reported a 12% rise in operating profit to £1.1 billion in the nine months to March, driven by strong growth in Europe.

Revenues at the pay-TV broadcaster rose 5% to £8.7 billion, and 177,000 new customers signed up in the third quarter.

In Germany and Austria, sales grew 10% to £1 billion.

Jeremy Darroch, Sky's chief executive, said: "Our strategy to broaden our business, expanding into new markets and customer segments, has delivered further excellent financial results."

However in Italy, Sky saw revenue fall by 2%, which analysts linked to increasing competition in the country.

Sky is also embroiled in several battles with rival BT, most notably in the sphere of football rights.

BT has outbid Sky for several Premier League packages and the lucrative Champions League.

Roddy Davidson at Shore Capital said: "We are mindful of the impact of an increasingly complex and competitive environment, featuring rapid growth in streaming services and BT's content offer, but believe Sky's content base and commitment to delivery across multiple platforms and revenue models places it in a strong position."

In addition, Sky has been calling for Ofcom to separate BT from its infrastructure arm Openreach, but in February, after a review, the regulator stopped short of demanding it be hived off.

Sky said on Thursday that "the ball is still in Ofcom's court" regarding Openreach.