BSkyB reports 10 percent rise in first-half profits

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British pay-TV giant BSkyB said on Thursday that net profits advanced ten percent in the first half of its financial year, as the group bucked tough trading conditions with keen demand for its products.

Profit after tax rose to pound 487 million ($771 million, 569 million euros) in the six months to December, compared with pound 441 million in the first half of its 2011/12 financial year, BSkyB said in a results statement.

Group revenue meanwhile swelled by five percent to pound 3.533 billion in the reporting period.

The company added that it now has 10.742 million paying customers after signing up a net 88,000 clients in the three months to December.

"We have delivered another good performance in the first half with strong progress across the board," said Chief Executive Jeremy Darroch.

"In what remains a tough consumer environment, our broadly-based growth strategy is working well."

London-listed BSkyB broadcasts the 24-hour Sky News channel, live sport including the English Premier League football and blockbuster movies, as well as providing broadband Internet and telephone services.

Back in 2011, Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation scrapped a bid to win full control of BSkyB following a phone-hacking scandal which forced it to close British tabloid newspaper News of the World.

News Corp. had bid pound 7.8 billion for the 60.9 percent of BSkyB it did not already own. However, BSkyB had rejected the 700-pence-per-share offer even before the bid collapsed.

Nearing the close of trading on Thursday, shares in BSkyB were up 0.74 percent at 816 pence on London's benchmark FTSE 100 index, which was down 0.59 percent at 6,285.84 points

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