British Telecommunications posts $53 million loss in quarter But growth is evident, according to analysts

Telecommunications

October 31, 1997|By BLOOMBERG NEWS

LONDON -- British Telecommunications PLC posted a second-quarter net loss that was smaller than analysts expected, as growth in its business combined with one-time charges, including a government tax.

BT said it lost 32 million pounds, or $53 million, in the second quarter, compared with net income of 461 million pounds a year earlier.

The main reason for the loss was a 510 million pound one-time tax, levied by the government as part of a drive to recoup alleged "excess profits" from previously state-owned utilities that were sold to the public.

Analysts said the earnings show BT's business is growing slightly faster than expectations, even as its plan to expand overseas has become mired in a takeover battle for MCI Communications Corp.

Excluding one-time items, BT said second-quarter earnings per share rose 2.7 percent to 7.5 pence from 7.3 pence a year earlier.

BT bid about $25 billion last year to buy the 80 percent of MCI it doesn't already own.

It lowered its bid earlier this year after MCI revealed greater-than-expected losses in its local phone unit.

Since then, WorldCom Inc. submitted a higher $33 billion share-based bid for MCI, and GTE Corp. offered $30 billion cash for MCI.

BT said second-quarter sales rose 6 percent to 3.95 million pounds from 3.7 million in the same quarter of last year.

The company described volume growth as good -- particularly in its mobile and overseas operations, including its Concert global joint venture with MCI.

Pub Date: 10/31/97

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