Friday, 17 November 2017

Liberty Global widens Q3 net loss in Europe

By Nick Wood, Total Telecom
Thursday 02 November 17

Germany the standout performer as U.S.-based cable group reports rising revenue

Liberty Global late Wednesday reported a larger third quarter net loss in Europe. For the three months to 30 September, the U.S.-based cable group's net loss widened to $460 million (€394.17 million) from $168 million a year earlier. Operating income fell to $537 million from $764 million…

Liberty Global late Wednesday reported a larger third quarter net loss in Europe.

For the three months to 30 September, the U.S.-based cable group's net loss widened to $460 million (€394.17 million) from $168 million a year earlier. Operating income fell to $537 million from $764 million.

The performance was driven by the deconsolidation of Liberty Global Group's Netherlands unit, Ziggo, which completed its merger with Vodafone in late 2016.

Liberty Global's top line is in better health.

Third quarter rebased revenue grew 2.5% year-on-year to $3.88 billion, with all of Liberty's operating companies reporting an uptick in sales.

Germany was the strongest performer, with rebased revenue increasing 4.6% to $703.7 million, thanks to an increase in subscribers and ARPU. Liberty's Virgin Media arm, which operates in the U.K. and Ireland, saw revenue grow 1.5% to $1.62 billion, driven by growth in revenue-generating units (RGUs). Revenue in Belgium grew 2.5% to $759.1 million, thanks to its B2B division. The Switzerland and Austria arm increased revenue 1.1% to $456.0 million.

"The European market remains highly competitive, but our investments in the fastest broadband speeds, the coolest video apps and compelling quad-play bundles are allowing us to win share across our footprint," insisted Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries, in a statement.

RGU additions for the quarter came in at 204,400, down from 267,800 a year ago.

Meanwhile, the performance at Liberty Global's Latin America and Caribbean (LiLAC) business was hit by hurricanes Irma and Maria in the third quarter. Rebased revenue at LiLAC edged up 0.5% to $909.7 million.

According to Liberty Global, the hurricanes impacted revenue in Puerto Rico and its Cable & Wireless arm by an estimated $19 million and $3 million respectively. The inclement weather also saw LiLAC swing to a net operating loss of $202 million from a year earlier operating profit of $139 million.

"We've begun the work of restoring our fixed and mobile networks in the affected markets, primarily Puerto Rico," Fries said.

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