Today’s half-year results release from BT (LSE: BT-A) is encouraging and shows that the company is meeting its long term goals. For example, it added a record 106,000 pay-tv customers in the second quarter of the year, which the company believes is justification of its considerable investment in Champions league football rights.
Furthermore, BT continues to invest heavily in its broadband network, with its fibre network now available to 24m premises and contributing to the company posting a 21% rise in fibre net additions, with BT hitting the 5m milestone for homes and businesses connected. And, with BT Mobile passing the 200,000 customer mark and the acquisition of EE gaining provisional approval from the Competition and Markets Authority, BT appears to be moving in the right direction.
However, while revenue increased by 2% in the second quarter of the year, the company’s EBIDTA fell by 1% which reflects its investment in BT Sport Europe. Certainly, in the long run BT’s strategy could pay off but, with vast investment being undertaken at the present time, its profitability is likely to suffer. As such, BT appears to be a stock to watch rather than buy at the present time.
Meanwhile, technology company Laird (LSE: LRD) today announced a major restructuring programme as it seeks to simplify its manufacturing operations. It is aiming to reduce its site footprint and improve efficiencies, with the cost of the changes set to amount to $60m. Laird believes that the changes being made will lead to $20m in annual savings, which appears to be a relatively short payback period.
Looking ahead, Laird in on-track to meet its growth targets, with the company’s bottom line due to rise by 18% in the current year and by a further 11% next year. The performance of its connected transport division is particularly encouraging, while its wireless systems division is also making strong progress. And, with its shares trading on a price to earnings growth (PEG) ratio of just 1.4 they continue to offer excellent value for money.
Similarly, spread betting company IG (LSE: IGG) trades on the same PEG ratio of 1.4 and today announced that it is trading in-line with expectations. It also confirmed that the search for a new CFO is progressing well, with its current CFO set to leave to join Hargreaves Lansdown.
Clearly, the recent market uncertainty has been good news for IG, with it increasing levels of customer activity during what has traditionally been a relatively quiet period for the business. And, with the uncertainty from a Chinese slowdown and the potential for US interest rate rises likely to continue to offer a challenging outlook, IG could deliver improved performance moving forward. With the company offering a yield of 4.4%, it remains a viable income play, too.
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Peter Stephens owns shares of Laird. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Hargreaves Lansdown. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.