BT to axe 13,000 jobs amid cost-cutting plan

UK telco BT, which operates pay-television broadcaster BT Sport, has today (Thursday) announced plans to cut around 13,000 jobs over the next three years as it admitted its structure is too complex and “overweight” when compared to rivals.

The announcements were made as BT today revealed its fourth quarter and full year financial results for the period ending March 31, 2018. While revenue fell by one per cent year-on-year to £23.723bn (€27bn/$32.6bn), reported profits dropped by two per cent to £7.505bn and net debt increased by £695m to £9.627bn.

BT said the job losses would stem mainly from back office and middle-management, with 6,000 new hires also being made, chiefly in customer service and engineering. The job losses mean BT is set to shed around 13 per cent of its total global workforce over the next four years, with a further 4,000 job cuts being announced in May last year. Around two-thirds of the latest round of cuts will come from the company’s UK workforce of about 80,000.

“This is probably the most significant transformation we have made in the last 10 years,” Gavin Patterson, chief executive of BT, said, according to UK newspaper The Guardian. “We need to do this to be competitive in the future. If we are compared with our peers we are frankly too complex and overweight. While I recognise the pain, ultimately it is the right thing to do for the business.”

Today’s announcement comes after BT again invested heavily in rights to football’s English Premier League. The Premier League announced in February that incumbent rights-holders BT Sport, and pay-television rival Sky, had secured five of the seven live packages on offer at a total value of £4.464bn.

The rights are for the three seasons spanning 2019-20 to 2021-22. BT Sport acquired Package A – 32 matches kicking off at 12.30pm on Saturdays – with its rights costing £295m per season. While BT Sport has lost its current 5.30pm Saturday matches, and 10 games per season, its outlay per match increases from the current £7.6m to £9.2m.

BT said at the time that it remained financially disciplined during the process and remains in a strong position to make a return on its investment through subscription, wholesale, commercial and advertising revenues, citing the acquisition of mobile network operator EE, which more than doubled BT’s customer base.

It also pointed to December’s landmark multi-year deal between BT and Sky which will make their channels available on each other’s platforms.