by Staff Writers
London (AFP) Jan 31, 2012
British pay-TV giant BSkyB on Tuesday posted higher net profits thanks to rising subscribers and announced plans to create 1,300 jobs over the next two years.
BSkyB, which was at the centre of a failed takeover bid by its largest shareholder News Corp. last year, added that it would launch Internet-based television services in 2012 to attract more customers.
It said that earnings after tax rose 8.4 percent to 441 million pounds ($694 million, 527 million euros) in its first half or six months to the end of December from 407 million pounds a year earlier.
Revenue climbed 6.0 percent to 3.36 billion pounds, the London-listed company added in a results statement.
BSkyB, which broadcasts the 24-hour Sky News channel, English Premier League football and blockbuster movies, said it now has almost 10.5 million household subscribers, including some who pay for its Internet and telephone services.
"It has been a strong first half with progress on all fronts," BSkyB chief executive Jeremy Darroch said in the earnings release.
"While these are tough times for many consumers, our customers are staying loyal and more households continue to join us."
BSkyB also said it would create 1,300 jobs in Britain and Ireland as it brings more of its customer service and installation work in-house and opens a new service centre in Dublin.
The group also announced plans for an Internet TV service, allowing customers to download films, and eventually sport and entertainment programmes, without a contract or satellite dish.
Investors welcomed Tuesday's announcements, sending BSkyB shares surging 2.93 percent to 685 pence on London's benchmark FTSE 100 index, which was up 0.97 percent at 5,725.89 points in midday deals.
"The launch of its online offering further complements its existing technical reach alongside the potential for new customers," said Richard Hunter, head of equities at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers.
BSkyB is seeking change six months after Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation abandoned its bid to win full control of BSkyB in the wake of a phone-hacking scandal that forced it to shut British tabloid newspaper News of the World.
News Corp. had in June 2010 bid 7.8 billion pounds for the 60.9 percent of BSkyB it did not already own. BSkyB had rejected the 700-pence-per-share offer even before the bid collapsed.
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PM should probe ISRO blacklisting order
Bangalore, India (IANS) Jan 31, 2012
Stung by a government order debarring him and three other reputed space scientists from occupying official posts, former Indian space agency chairman G Madhavan Nair has demanded that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh immediately enquire into the case. "As I am not aware who took the decision in the PMO (Prime Minister's Office), I want the prime minister to investigate the order and ascertain ... read more
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