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Tuesday, 15 May, 2001, 18:04 GMT 19:04 UK
Bland invests in BT
Sir Christopher Bland
Sir Christopher has put part of his multi-million pound fortune in BT.
The new chairman of BT, Sir Christopher Bland, has bought about a million pound's worth of shares in the company.

He actually purchased 220,000 shares at 515.5p, making a grand total of 1.1m.

BT shares closed on Tuesday at 513p, so BT's new head made a loss, though that was up 12.5p on the day.

A spokesman from BT said that it was Sir Christopher's first opportunity to buy shares in the company since he took over from Sir Iain Vallance as chairman last month.

Sir Christopher said recently that he would put a part of his multi-million pound fortune into the telecoms firm as a sign of his confidence in its strategy.

BT has come under fire from shareholders and the media for its decision to award millions of pounds in bonuses and pay to Bland and its chief executive Sir Peter Bonfield despite the company's poor performance.

Reducing debt

BT is undergoing a radical restructuring in a bid to cut its estimated 30bn debt mountain.

Last week, the telecoms operator announced that it is to ask shareholders to stump up 5.9bn for new shares.

It said, too, that it would demerge BT Wireless - including mobile phone operator BT Cellnet - scrap dividends for this year and sell or demerge directory business Yell.

BT has also recently been selling off stakes in international operators in an attempt to reduce its debts.

The announcement of the rights issue came as BT reported a 2.8bn pre-tax loss for its fourth quarter, pushing it into its first-ever annual loss.

At the time, Sir Christopher Bland said: "It will require determined and rapid action by management to achieve the transformation of BT.

"We have made a good start, the culture is changing and I am confident that we can complete the process in the best interests of our shareholders, customers and staff."

Sir Christopher is due to meet institutional investors this week as the company begins a three-week roadshow to drum up support for the rights issue.

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14 May 01 | Business
Bonfield bonus angers BT investors
26 Apr 01 | Business
Can Bland revive BT?
10 May 01 | Business
BT attacks debt mountain
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