Liberty Global up 4% in first Virgin quarter

Liberty Global, now including Virgin Media, has posted steady growth for Q3 with 314,000 subs adds (878,000 for the nine months YTD) and turnover up 4 per cent. The company has bought back $500 million of stock in the quarter bringing the total to $1 billion YTD.

President and CEO Mike Fries commented, “The third quarter results that we issued today reflect the first full quarter with Virgin Media in our consolidated figures. Adjusting to include their results for the full nine-month period, YTD combined revenue and OCF were $13.1 billion and $5.8 billion, respectively, reflecting rebased revenue growth of 4 per cent and OCF growth of 5 per cent. Meanwhile, our combined Adjusted Free Cash Flow increased 24 per cent to $968 million for the nine months ended September 30th 2013.”

“In the UK, penetration of our TiVo product is approaching 50 per cent, while Horizon TV has been launched in four European markets, most recently in Germany and Ireland. On the broadband front, we’ve been substantially increasing maximum download speeds above 200 Mbps in many markets, and at the same time refocusing the feature bundles in most of our fall campaigns to include broadband tiers of at least 100 Mbps.”

“M&A highlights for Q3 include substantial progress on our Virgin Media synergy plans, and the recently announced sale of substantially all of Chellomedia’s assets. With respect to Virgin Media, we now expect to achieve up to double our initial $180 million estimate of combined synergies for OCF and capital expenditures once the integration process is substantially complete. In addition, the Chellomedia Sale is expected to close in Q1 2014 and the resulting €750 million ($1 billion) in proceeds will provide us with increased flexibility to invest in more strategic content going forward.”

“We’ve also been actively returning capital to shareholders through stock buybacks with approximately $1.0 billion spent this year, including nearly $500 million in Q3 alone. As a result, we remain on track to complete our two-year target for $3.5 billion of buybacks by mid-2015.”

“At September 30th 2013, we provided a total of 47.8 million services, consisting of 21.8 million video, 14.1 million broadband Internet and 11.9 million telephony subscriptions, to our 24.5 million unique customers. During Q3 2013, we increased our total RGUs by 316,000, driven by 314,000 organic additions and a small acquisition in Switzerland. From a product perspective, our Q3 organic RGU additions reflect broadband Internet and telephony additions of 214,000 and 153,000 RGUs, respectively, and a loss of 53,000 video subscribers. Of particular note, our broadband Internet additions represented a record third quarter performance and our video RGU attrition was our best Q3 result since 2007.”

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