Belfast Telegraph

Shares in TalkTalk fall after half-year loss of £75m

By Ben Woods

Shares in TalkTalk have slumped after the telecoms group dived to a half-year loss and warned over profits as it took a hit from efforts to secure more customers.

The FTSE 250 firm was down more than 8% in afternoon trading on the London Stock Exchange as it booked a loss of £75m for the six months to the end of September, down from a £30m profit for the period last year.

It was also hit by a £59m charge, which included £20m of costs linked to setting up offices in Salford and changing its organisational structure.

Revenues dipped 5% to £828m for the half-year, with headline earnings dropping 34% to £95m in response to the firm's investment drive.

It said annual earnings would come in at the lower end of its target of £270m to £300m, as it pushes through further investment to capture a greater share of the market in the second half of the year.

Chief executive Tristia Harrison said: "When we simplified and reset the business in May, we said our priorities were growth, cash and EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation), in that order.

"We have now delivered a third consecutive quarter of growth in our broadband base, with both retail and wholesale bases growing; returned to on-net revenue growth; and delivered lower churn than a year ago. We expect to step up our planned investment in growth in the second half, as we take advantage of the strong demand we are seeing for our fixed low-price plans."

Belfast Telegraph

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