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BT dips as Deutsche Bank makes Christmas comparison to Scrooge

“Will Ebenezeer’s replacement, already a year in charge, awake on Christmas morning with a desire to shout from the rooftops that reasonably-priced, full-fibre for all is ScroogeCo’s future regardless of the impact on stuff like the dividend or credit rating?"

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BT Group PLC (LON:BT.A) dipped ahead of the Christmas holidays after analysts at Deutsche Bank compared the telco company's former boss, Gavin Patterson to Scrooge from “A Christmas Carol” in a note reiterating its 'sell' stance on the stock.

Patterson was pushed out by the BT board after poor results in 2018, and was replaced by Philip Jansen last January.

READ: BT agrees sale of Spanish unit

Deutsche Bank's analysts pointed out that BT has been trying to re-establish its reputation for quality and cutting costs through divestments, the latest one earlier this week with the disposal of its Spanish business.

However, prices remain high for customers while the company faces increased risk from higher competition over internet infrastructure.

The £400mln annual investment for the UEFA broadcast rights was initially considered “a vainglorious project” but is now “a necessity to tether restless patrons”, according to the Deutsche Bank analysts.

The FTSE 100-listed firm saw its move back into mobile with the purchase of EE prove a poison chalice, after it prompted Sky to partner with rival O2, Virgin Media with Vodafone Group plc (LON:VOD), while Three vowed to stop using BT altogether.

On top of that, BT has had to offer free internet access for providers, such as Talktalk Telecom Group PLC (LON:TALK), after they threatened to walk away from their respective agreements, and are now allowed to use the company's infrastructure.

“The existential risks facing ScroogeCo remain as high as they were, if not higher than when Scrooge was unceremoniously evicted,” Deutsche Bank's analysts said.

“Will Ebenezeer’s replacement, already a year in charge, awake on Christmas morning with a desire to shout from the rooftops that reasonably-priced, full-fibre for all is ScroogeCo’s future regardless of the impact on stuff like the dividend or credit rating? Or, will delays embolden ScroogeCo’s competitors further?”, they concluded.

BT shares were 1% lower at 202.52p on Friday afternoon.

Quick facts: BT Group PLC

Price: 148.42 GBX

LSE:BT.A
Market: LSE
Market Cap: £14.67 billion
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