BT sees profits down but strong demand for new BT Sport

BT has announced this morning that it saw a 13 per cent fall in half year pretax profits to £948m. But the telecoms company's second quarter trading (to 30 September) was ahead of forecasts. (Release)

It also saw a two per cent decline in adjusted earnings to £2.7bn in the quarter, but BT Sport, which was launched in August, is already driving strong customer demand. It cost the company £738m to broadcast 38 Premiership games.

Chief executive Gavin Patterson said that BT Sport has made a "confident start", with over two million of BT's customers signed up. Along with its three-year deal to show the 38 games, BT Sport has a contract with Virgin Media which means it is available to around four million homes.

Patterson added that this has been the company's "strongest quarter ever" for fibre take up, with Openreach connections up 70 per cent. Its network now passes more than 17m premises.

Shares leapt on the news at open, but have since climbed down.

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