Concert breakup brings large losses for BT

British Telecommunications PLC (BT) on Thursday reported heavy losses for its second quarter, due in large part to the exceptional items incurred by disbanding Concert Communications Co., its joint venture telecommunication carrier with AT&T Corp.

BT reported an after-tax loss of 1.48 billion pounds (US$2.18 billion, as of Sept. 30, the last day of the quarter being reported), a stark contrast to its profit of 280 million pounds in the same quarter last year, BT said in a statement.

The massive losses include BT’s write down of 1.2 billion pounds of investment in Concert and AT&T Canada, BT said. BT and AT&T announced on Oct. 16 that due to continued losses from overcapacity and a sharp drop in telecommunication prices, the multinational company would be shut down and its assets returned to the parent companies.

Earnings for BT, stripping out exceptionals, interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, were 1.46 billion pounds in the second quarter, down seven per cent from 1.57 billion pounds in the second quarter of last year, the company said.

The company’s debt, which at one point earlier this year reached nearly 30 billion pounds, stood at 16.5 billion pounds by the end of the second quarter, BT said.

BT, in London, can be contacted at AT&T Corp., based in Basking Ridge, N.J., is at