BT: Now for the Bull Case

After a dramatic earnings release, Morningstar analysts argue that BT’s long-term equity story has ingredients to like

Javier Correonero 22 May, 2023 | 3:30PM
Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

BT logo at a concert

Shares of narrow-moat BT (BT.A) were down 5% after the group reported full-year results, as the company ended fiscal 2023 in the lower end of its free cash flow guidance of £1.3 billion - £1.5 billion. This was explained by higher capital expenditure in Openreach to accelerate fibre-to-the-home deployment – a decision we support, given the healthy trends in adoption Openreach’s fiber network is seeing, which is resulting in mid-single-digit divisional revenue growth and high-single-digit growth in EBITDA. Group revenue declined by 1% organically year over year, while EBITDA grew by 5% due to the consumer division and growth in Openreach. Although we are trimming our fair value estimate to 200p from 230p to account for lower free cash flow in the medium term, we believe BT’s long-term equity story has ingredients to like.

First, on the consumer division, BT has been able to pass price increases to UK customers (an industrywide action that Vodafone and Virgin Media O2 have also followed) with limited churn effects. This has resulted in organic revenue growth of 2% and organic EBITDA growth of 9%, also aided by cost controls. Second, BT recently merged its enterprise and global divisions.

This will help reach additional cost synergies, something much needed in these two businesses that have struggled to grow their top lines. Third, BT announced it intends to reduce its global headcount from 130,000 employees today to around 75,000-90,000 in 2028-30. Although there is inherent uncertainty in this forecast given its long-term scope, we highly support this decision as the telecommunication industry generally struggles to grow revenue, so cost controls are paramount. This same week, Vodafone also announced it will cut 11,000 roles in the next three years. Our forecast already assumes a good amount of cost efficiencies in the future.


The information contained within is for educational and informational purposes ONLY. It is not intended nor should it be considered an invitation or inducement to buy or sell a security or securities noted within nor should it be viewed as a communication intended to persuade or incite you to buy or sell security or securities noted within. Any commentary provided is the opinion of the author and should not be considered a personalised recommendation. The information contained within should not be a person's sole basis for making an investment decision. Please contact your financial professional before making an investment decision.

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

About Author

Javier Correonero  is an equity analyst for Morningstar

© Copyright 2024 Morningstar, Inc. All rights reserved.

Terms of Use        Privacy Policy        Modern Slavery Statement        Cookie Settings        Disclosures