BT reports better-than-expected annual profits

Stock in BT gained nearly 3 per cent on Thursday after the telecoms giant reported better-than-expected annual results.

Underlying pre-tax profits increased by 9 per cent to £901 million in the twelve month ended March 31, while underlying revenues jumped 0.5 per cent.

The consumer division, which includes the home telephone business and broadband packages with free access to sports channels, reported an increase of 4 per cent in revenue to £4.02 billion.

In the January-March period of this year, revenues jumped 9 per cent to £1.07 billion. The increase was mainly driven by the broadband and TV platform's 24 per cent growth.

The broadband and TV services provider also announced that it gained 170,000 new retail broadband customers within the first three months of 2014. The group's TV arm gained 46,000 new customers in the same three-month period.

Unveiling the results, CEO Gavin Patterson said, "BT Sport has proved very popular and we are delighted the service is now in around five million homes."

Last year, BT paid £738 million to show thirty-eight games per season for three years north as well as south of the Border.

The group hiked full-year dividend by 15 per cent to 10.9p per share; and said it could be increased by 10-15 per cent in each of the coming two years.

BT shares gained 2.9 per cent, or 10.8p, to close at 387.6p apiece.