TalkTalk trips as costs fall slower than anticipated

Oliver Smith
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TalkTalk chief executive Dido Harding
TALKTALK was bruised in morning trading yesterday after it revealed an unsuccessful IT project and additional costs from its takeover of BlinkBox would hit its full-year profit forecast.

“Two broad things have led us to guide that we will be towards the bottom end of current market expectations,” TalkTalk chief executive Dido Harding told City A.M. “First is BlinkBox losses for the fourth quarter of between £3m and £5m... the further piece is between £10m and £15m of… cost savings coming slower than planned.”

The TalkTalk boss also said she remained committed to campaigning for Ofcom to separate BT from its national infrastructure business Openreach, which she first called for in an exclusive interview with City A.M. in December. “I suspect an independent Openreach would invest faster in building fibre infrastructure across the UK. It’s extraordinary what real competition and tougher regulation does.”

Meanwhile Harding said she is confident of TalkTalk’s position in the face of the wave of consolidation sweeping the telecoms market. “They can be involved in macho games of who buys who, but we’re building a quad play business today,” she said.

TalkTalk said it recorded its strongest ever combined take-up of mobile, TV and broadband in the third quarter, delivering a 4.2 per cent rise in revenue to £449m. After slipping four per cent in the morning, shares closed down a smaller 1.04 per cent at 315p.

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