BSkyB profits up as customers grow

 
City A.M. Reporter
Satellite broadcaster BSkyB, a News Corp takeover target, has added 51,000 new subscribers in the past quarter, taking its customer base to 10.1m despite a tough UK economy.

Growth was slower than the previous quarter but was towards the high end of analyst expectations. BSkyB also sold more products to its customers, driving annualised average revenue per user to £544 from £503 a year earlier.

The company - whose main attractions are premium sports, movies and drama - said 26 per cent of its customers now took all three of its its TV, broadband and telephony services.

"Our approach in the current environment will be to stay flexible on costs while delivering for customers," chief executive Jeremy Darroch said in a statement. "We remain cautious on the economic outlook for calendar 2011."

Adjusted operating profit rose to £261m in the fiscal third quarter on sales that increased to £1.65bn from £1.46bn.

Analysts had expected operating profit of £272m and sales of £1.65bn, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine SmartEstimates, which weights analysts' forecasts according to their past accuracy.

The British government is expected soon to give clearance for News Corp to bid for the 61 per cent of BSkyB it does not already own. The two parties decided to seek regulatory approval before entering serious price negotiations.

BSkyB said it had no update on a public consultation on the matter and would continue to cooperate with the regulatory process.