- Clear Communications' owner British Telecom has announced plans to restructure, and to develop some operational divisions into partially-listed public companies.
In a statement, Chief Executive Officer Peter Bonfield said the major corporate restructuring will help the company focus on chief growth areas including wireless, broadband and IP (Internet Protocol). It will also help BT focus on its priority geographic centers of Western Europe and Japan, as well as on global telecom services via Concert, its 50-50 joint venture with AT&T.
In the statement, Bonfield said BT will create a new network company, NetCo, to focus on serving competing telecom operators and service providers, including BT's own retail divisions. He said BT will seek to list up to 25% of NetCo as a separate company, pending regulatory approval.
Bonfield also said the creation of a new BT Group holding company will help make the company "faster, more flexible, focused and better able to serve our customers and reward shareholders." He said that the various divisions, though operationally separate, will work together to provide complete services in the wireless, Internet, broadband and electronic commerce areas.
BT began a restructuring in April into operational divisions including BT Retail, which serves end-business and residential customers; BTopenworld, the company's mass-market Internet business, focusing increasingly on broadband services; BT Wireless; BT Ignite, providing corporate and wholesale customers with broadband IP services; and directories and e-commerce division Yell.
The company plans to list up to 25% of BT Wireless publicly in the second half of next year, and up to 25% of Yell before the end of fiscal 2000, said Bonfield. By the end of 2001, he added, the company will have developed BT Ignite to a point when it too can be listed.
The restructuring and share offerings should help BT to reduce its debt by at least 10 billion pounds (US$14.2 billion) by December 2001, Bonfield said. BT's net debt now stands at 18.7 billion pounds, the company said in financial results released Thursday
BT, in London, is at +44-20-7356-5000, or at http://www.bt.com/.