Page last updated at 08:30 GMT, Thursday, 14 May 2009 09:30 UK

Irish arm spared major BT cutback

BT engineer at work
The Irish arm of BT has posted a rise in profits

There will be no major job cuts among the 2,600 BT employees in Northern Ireland, the company has said.

The firm reported a rise of 18% in full year profits for its all-Ireland operations despite the difficult economic climate.

BT as a whole announced losses of £134m and said it planned to cut 15,000 jobs.

However, BT Ireland chief executive Chris Clark said the firm operates as "a mini BT" in Ireland and had turned in "a very strong set of numbers".

The 18% increase in profit was achieved despite declining revenues and as a result of the "rigorous cost transformation programmes under way in the company".

Gross margin improved by 9% while underlying revenues, excluding foreign exchange movement , declined by 4% to £800.8m.

We have successfully managed to balance rigorous cost management programmes with ongoing strategic investments to keep our business on track.
Chris Clark, BT Ireland

Mr Clark said: "It has been a tough year with a slowdown in overall business activity and heightened competition.

"However, by executing against our strategy of bringing together value, service and innovation for customers of all sizes we have delivered a very impressive set of results."

Mr Clark added: "We have been very focused on driving down costs. We have successfully managed to balance rigorous cost management programmes with ongoing strategic investments to keep our business on track.

"Making our business efficient and sustainable is beneficial for our customers and for Northern Ireland."

He said while BT did not need as many engineers because of advances in technology, the Irish operations had been fortunate that because of the age profile of staff it had achieved a gradual reduction in staff through retirement and natural wastage of people moving to other jobs in recent years.

He said that he did not expect that to change now.

Meanwhile, the company announced a multi-million pound project to upgrade its network on both sides of the border in the North West of the island.

It will extend its 'next generation network' by directly linking Letterkenny in County Donegal with Londonderry, Belfast and Dublin.

It will also connect with over 1,270 cities worldwide through BT's global network.

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