2 Numbers That Could Make BT Group plc A Sizzling Buy

BTToday I am looking at why BT (LSE: BT-A) (NYSE: BT.US) could be a great selection for those seeking strong earnings growth.

Here are two numbers that I think help make the case.


BT has forked out a fortune in recent years in order to expand its cutting-edge fibre network across the country. Extreme heavy lifting in this area is allowing the firm to add a mammoth 70,000 new residential and business premises per week to the grid, taking the total number of addresses to more than 20 million.

But the telecoms giant is not happy to stand still, and just this week announced plans to recruit another 500 staff to its Openreach division to keep the cable laying programme clicking through the gears.

Since April the company has taken on 2,400 new employees in this area, as BT plans to cement its place at the top of the broadband tree and consequently gain ground in the white-hot ‘triple services’ space covering television, telephone and internet provision.

122 million

A major selling point of BT is the firm’s ability to generate plenty of cash. The business saw normalised free cash flow leap to £2.45bn during the 12 months concluding March 2014, up £150m from the previous year and beating the company’s goal of £2.3bn.

And last month’s financial update confirmed that this positive trend remains in tact, with free cash flow swinging to £122m during April-June from a negative reading of £60m during the same 2013 period. Meanwhile BT’s expertise in throwing up the readies is also allowing it to slash the debt pile, and net debt collapsed £769m to £7.03bn last year.

Not only is the firm’s improving balance sheet critical in keeping its fibre programme rolling, but the huge sums needed to keep its BT Sport channels well stocked with the best sports programming is also key to keeping sales at BT Consumer division trucking on — turnover here leapt 10% during the first quarter.

Last November the telecoms giant forked out £897m to secure exclusive live broadcasting rights for UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League football for three years from 2015. With the next round of FA Premier League television auctions due next year, BT will be well positioned to finally smash the decades-old dominance of English top-flight football by Sky.

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Royston Wild has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.