BT takes £530m charge over ‘improper practices’ in Italy

BT Group has been forced to write down the value of its Italian business by £530m following “inappropriate behaviour” over a number of years. The sum is far higher than the £145m BT initially anticipated and will affect its results for the next two years. BT began investigating accounting practices in Italy last October. It since emerged that the problems were “far greater than previously identified” and went back over “a number of years”. The charge will affect BT’s results both for this year and next. For the 2016-17 financial year, revenue will fall £200m and underlying earnings will be £175m lower. It expects to take a similar hit on group sales and earnings for the following financial year. BT said it has suspended a number of BT Italy’s senior management team who have now left the business. It has appointed a new chief executive of BT Italy who will take charge on 1 February.