Why BT Group Shares Popped

Is this meaningful? Or just another movement?

Brian D. Pacampara, CFA
Brian D. Pacampara, CFA
May 10, 2013 at 4:32PM
Energy, Materials, and Utilities

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of Britain's largest fixed-line phone company BT Group (NYSE:BT) climbed 11% today after its quarterly results and outlook impressed Wall Street.

So what: The company's market-topping first quarter -- adjusted EBITDA of 6.2 billion on revenue of 18.25 billion pounds -- reinforces optimism over management's recent cost control and expansion initiatives. While revenue for the quarter remained flat, strong demand for BT's new superfast fibre network, coupled with a full-year dividend hike, gives investors plenty of confidence in its growth prospects and financial health going forward.

Now what: Management now sees free cash flow of about 2.6 billion pounds in 2014/2015 -- up slightly from an earlier forecast of 2.5 billion -- and dividend growth of 10%-15% over the same period. "Our focus on improving efficiency across the business will allow us to continue to deliver strong financial results," said CEO Ian Livingston. "We have a lot more to do but we are now a lot better positioned to do it." Of course, with the stock now up more than 50% from its 52-week lows, I'd wait for some of the optimism to fade before buying into that bullishness.

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