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Arqiva confirms sale plan

UK-based communications and TV facilities business Arqiva has reported its 9-month revenue saying that it was enjoying “double digit” earnings growth and an order book of some £6 billion (€6.96bn).

Arqiva is owned (48 per cent) by Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and (40 per cent) by Australian private equity investors Macquarie and IFM. Arqiva’s investors are widely reported to be seeking a sale of their stakes in the business.

A statement from Arqiva, enclosed with the results, said: “Arqiva’s shareholders are jointly undertaking a strategic review of their investment which may lead to a transaction involving their interests in Arqiva. There is no certainty that the strategic review will result in any transaction. A further announcement will be made as and when appropriate.”

CEO Simon Beresford-Wylie hailed the “excellent operating performances” by the firm’s divisions with group earnings margins growing by 50 per cent. The visibility of revenues with a contracted order book of close to £6 billion, inflation-linked pricing, and the opportunity to increase utilisation of our infrastructure, places Arqiva in a very strong position to continue to deliver stable profitable growth,” said the company.

Arqiva reported revenue growth up 11 per cent from continued operations, with Terrestrial Broadcast revenues up 8 per cent, Telecoms and M2M revenues up 11 per cent. Satellite and Media division revenues grew more modestly by 3 per cent. EBITDA was up 12 per cent for the nine months to £351 million.

As at March 31st 2017, Arqiva’s two main DVB-T Multiplexes in the UK had 31 videostreams, all of which are utilised. Ongoing high levels of Multiplex utilisation demonstrates the on-going attractiveness to broadcasters of the Freeview DTT platform.

The Group is delivering the DAB rollout programme for the BBC. By March 31st 2017, Arqiva had built 161 new transmitters for the BBC since rollout began to reach the targeted UK national DAB network coverage of more than 97 per cent of the population. The final two sites of the 163 required to deliver the current phase of the programme are expected to be complete by June 2017.

Satellite and Media revenues benefited from new HD channel sales, a new agreement with Al Jazeera Media Network for global teleport and distribution services and foreign exchange gains. These revenue improvements were partially offset by the continuing impact of exiting the low margin wholesale business and the termination of other low margin contracts.

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