Investements abroad dented BT's earnings for its fiscal second quarter, but the telco still managed to make almost £7000 profit per minute during the period.
Revenue for the quarter, ended 30 September, climbed 21 per cent to £5.3 billion. But pre-tax profit dropped 52 per cent to £890 million. However, excluding one-time gains from BT's sale of its interests in MCI last year, profit actually rose 3.9 per cent from the year earlier quarter.
Increased investment in BT's European ventures, around £3 billion in the last six months, accounted for much of BT's expenditure. BT also spent £3.15 billion taking full control of BT Cellnet, including buying Securicor's 40 per cent stake.
Investors in London appeared confident that the company would fight off increasingly tough competition at home and abroad, as BT's share price rose 64 pence to 1227 pence by mid morning.
BT chairman Sir Iain Vallance said: "Growth prospects in the UK and internationally remain good, but we face increasing competition as the globalisation of our industry continues."
Heightened competition does have one positive side for BT. The money it received from other UK operators, mainly for carrying part of their traffic on its network, rose £189 million in the six months to the end of September.
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