LONDON -- I believe that shares in BT Group (LSE: BT-A ) (NYSE: BT ) are ready to take flight again, after stalling at a multiyear summit above 280 pence struck in recent weeks, the loftiest for more than five years.
In my opinion, the company's strategy of boosting its "triple play" activity across the television, broadband, and telephone spaces should help to turbo-charge revenues in coming years and boost dividend payments.
Eye on the Sky
BT's aggressive drive to take on home entertainment leviathan British Sky Broadcasting Group in the television space continues to dominate the headlines, ahead of the launch of the company's much-awaited sports channels in the summer, which should boost interest in its BT Vision TV packages.
As well as offering Barclays Premier League games from next season, BT Sport has also recently secured the rights to show FA Cup and UEFA Europa League matches as well as some matches from the continent. The firm is also stepping up its attack on Sky for the rights to rugby union events -- it has already inked a four-year deal to show Aviva Premiership games from next season -- and plans to wrestle away the rights for the popular Heineken Cup competition from 2014.
City analysts expect earnings per share to have risen 5% in the year ending March 2013, to 25 pence, results for which are due on May 10. This is expected to edge 1% higher in 2014, to 25.2 pence, before accelerating to 27 pence in 2015, a 7% increase.
BT Group currently changes hands on a P/E rating of 10.9 and 10.2 for 2014 and 2015, respectively, providing a chunky discount to a forward earnings multiple of 14.6 for Sky, and 14.6 average for the fixed telecommunications sector.
Dial into decent dividends
BT is a popular pick for investors seeking chunky dividend income. The firm was forced to slash the full-year dividend almost 60% in 2009 to 6.5 pence after clocking up heavy losses, but has steadily rebuilt its progressive dividend policy since.
An expected dividend of 9.4 pence for 2013 is predicted to rise to 10.7 pence in 2014, according to broker forecasts, before increasing to 12.1 pence the following year. And payments for 2013 and 2014 carry yields of 3.8% and 4.4%, well above the forward dividend yield of 3.3% for the U.K.'s 100 largest-listed entities.
And the dividend for this year and next come attached with coverage of 2.4 times and 2.2 times, above the broadly regarded safety mark of two times earnings and providing investors with peace of mind that the firm can avoid further dividend cuts.
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