BT forced to sell cable-making division

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 | DIVISION SALE

It has been widely reported that telecommunications firm BT has been forced to sell its cable-making arm as part of a wider effort to simplify its business following a string of financial setbacks.

According to the Telegraph, the telephone and internet service provider has appointed Greenhill, an investment bank, to advise over the sale of BT Cables, a Manchester-based division.

BT Cables supplies Openreach, the parent group’s separate network operator which was spun out from BT last year, with fibre optic and copper cables. The division also provides connections use for railway signalling, as well as other products for international customers.

The cabling business became part of the BT group in 2012 when it was bought from administrators to allow the network operator to continue to upgrade its superfast broadband network. BT Cables’ previous owner, B3 Industries, collapsed with debts of over £30 million to its name.

Since then, however, BT has more than doubled its cable sales since 2012 to reach £50 million, with the division reporting a profit of £4 million last year.

It is believed that Greenhill has marketed this strong financial performance to private equity buyers.

The BT parent company has, on the other hand, endured some tricky financial times of late, though the sale of BT Cables is believed to motivated by a desire to refocus on its core business rather than for the cash boost it might provide.

Last year, BT was struck by a large-scale accounting fraud in its Italian business which lead to a major internal review this year. Possible actions identified to go forward include a string of asset disposals or merging business units.

Aside from BT Cables, the firm is poised to sell off international networks this year as it shifts its services for overseas customers to online and cloud computing platforms.


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