BT is ahead of schedule on its fibre rollout, leading to raised profits for the financial year.
The company is reporting revenue of £19.3bn, down 4% for the year, but profit was up 16% to £2.4bn. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) moved up 3% to £6,064m.
The company announced that it has reached its goal of rolling out wholesale fibre broadband to 10 million premises in the UK more than six months ahead of schedule. It has previously expected to achieve this at year end.
BT CEO Ian Livingstone was happy with the results.
"In what remains a challenging environment we have delivered another year of growth in profits and free cash flow. Our financial strength has allowed us to invest in the business, make a £2bn payment into the pension fund, reward employees and deliver double digit growth in shareholder returns," he said.
He is projecting that BT's returns will stay high in the face of tough economic conditions in 2012.
"We expect to continue to grow profits over the next two years, with normalised free cash flow growing to above £2.4bn in 2014. We will continue to pursue our prudent financial strategy, investing in the long-term future of the business, supporting the pension scheme, paying down debt and enhancing shareholder returns," he said.
The company's outlook remains solid. BT is projecting revenue to grow in 2013 and 2014, including EBITDA.
BT remains a healthy company. It produced free cashflow of £2.52bn, up 13% and ahead of most analysts expectations. This reflects the networks better profitability and lower capital expenditure.
It has announced that it is investing £2.5bn to make fibre broadband available to around two thirds of UK premises by the end of 2014, and says it has recruited hundreds of extra engineers in the past year to help with the roll-out.
The company is aiming to replicate its successes in Northern Ireland, where it has 89% coverage. The company is currently chasing Broadband Development UK funds, and aims to produce 90% UK coverage with speeds up to 80Mbps further down the track. The current average speed is 7.6Mbps. It is also looking to make fibre-to-the-premises available on demand in all fibre enabled areas from Spring 2013. This could potentially lead to speeds of 300Mbps plus.
While the company remains the country's largest broadband provider, its key competitors, Virgin Media and Vodafone have not been dormant. Virgin Media produced good results two weeks ago, and is already offering some customers 120Mbps. Vodafone has just purchased the troubled Cable and Wireless for £1bn. Cable and Wireless owns the UK's largest fibre optic network, and nearly half a mission kilometres of undersea cables worldwide. Much of this is expected to be used for mobile backhaul, however.