June 11, 2020 / 8:17 AM / 25 days ago

UK's TalkTalk posts growth in core earnings, maintains dividend

A woman speaks on her phone as she passes a branded logo outside the Talktalk headquarters in London, Britain May 10, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - British broadband company TalkTalk reported a 9.7% rise in full-year core earnings to 260 million pounds ($329 million), driven by growth in its fibre customer base, and said it was in a robust financial position, allowing it to maintain its dividend.

Chief Executive Tristia Harrison said TalkTalk’s network had kept families, friends and communities connected through the pandemic.

“Access to reliable, affordable connectivity has never been so important - and low prices matter now more than ever before,” she said. “As the only scale, value provider, TalkTalk continues to be well positioned to meet this demand.”

Harrison said TalkTalk was not giving guidance for the current year, but it expected to deliver stable core earnings after including a 15 million pound provision for the impact of the pandemic, reflecting the possibility of some customers struggling financially when government support schemes ended.

“We are making sure that we plan cautiously as we get into the second part of the year as the various furlough schemes fall away,” she said, adding that TalkTalk had not accessed government support itself.

Shares in TalkTalk, which have risen 17% since its financial year ended on March 31, were trading down 2.7% at 96.6 pence in early deals on Thursday.

Reporting by Paul Sandle; editing by Sarah Young and James Davey

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