The Great Debate UK
It is a quarter of a century since the ground-breaking privatisation of BT. Unfortunately, it may not be many more years before a reluctant government is forced to take the company back into state ownership.
The new BT annual report, 169 pages of it, gives only a few hints of the scale of the problem facing what John Ralfe recently described as “a badly run hedge fund that happens to own a phone network”.
Ralfe is an independent consultant and something of a maverick in the arcane world of pension deficits, but he has a point. The directors claim that BT will make enough to grow the (reduced) dividend, invest in the business and support the pension scheme, all at once. It’s far from clear how.
- David Kuo is director at The Motley Fool. The opinions expressed are his own.-
BT’s annual results were expected to be bad. It turns out that they weren’t just bad – they were awful.
Now, many of us were expecting massive losses, a slashing of dividends, the axing of jobs and a gaping hole in the company’s pension fund. And BT duly delivered on all fronts.