British telecoms and broadcasting firm BT, which is buying mobile operator EE, posted rising annual profits Thursday on keen demand for its broadband Internet services.
Underlying profit, or earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), climbed three percent to £6.3 billion ($9.5 billion, 8.4 billion euros) in the 12 months to March, compared with the previous 2013/2014 financial year, BT said in a results statement.
Pretax profit gained 14 percent to £2.645 billion, but revenues dipped two percent to £17.851 billion.
BT added that it won 121,000 retail broadband customers in the fourth quarter, accounting for almost 50 percent of growth in Britain's broadband sector.
That compared with 170,000 new subscribers for the same period a year earlier.
"It's been a ground-breaking year for BT, in which we've made some key decisions and announced some major investments to underpin the future growth of the business," said Chief Executive Gavin Patterson.
"Profit before tax and free cash flow have both grown strongly and we have delivered or beaten the outlook we set at the start of the year."
The company had agreed in February to purchase EE for £12.5 billion in a cash-and-shares deal partly funded by a £1.0-billion rights issue.
BT shareholders last week approved the deal, which now awaits regulatory approval.
EE is a British mobile phone brand operated by French company Orange and Deutsche Telekom of Germany.
Earlier this year, meanwhile, BT and broadcasting rival Sky won the UK television rights to show Premier League games for three seasons at a record cost of £5.1 billion.
Sky will pay £4.2 billion for five of the seven packages and BT almost £1.0 billion for the remainder.
BT entered the market for the broadcasting of live television sport in 2013 with the launch of its BT Sport brand.
"Our BT Sport TV channels are now in more than 5.2 million homes, with the customer base growing again in the quarter," added Patterson.
"We're pleased to have secured FA Premier League football rights for a further three years, and an extension with Aviva Premiership Rugby for four more years."