Liberty Q1: Revenues up, subs growth slows

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Liberty Global has posted its Q1 2018 financial results, revealing its strongest quarterly revenue growth in nearly five years for the three months to March 31st 2018. However, the international cable group also saw a sharp decrease in subscriber growth.

Operating income was up 17.5 per cent to $493.1 million (€415m) whist the cable group added just 66,000 RGUs, a 73 per cent decline on the same period last year.

CEO Mike Fries commented: “We generated 4.2 per cent rebased revenue growth in Q1, which was our third consecutive quarter of top-line improvement, underpinned by 5.2 per cent rebased growth at Virgin Media, on the back of accelerating ARPU and strong mobile and B2B results.”

“Our rebased OCF growth of 4.7 per cent in Q1, which represents our strongest first quarter result since 2014, was driven by 11.8 per cent growth in Germany, 6.3 per cent in Central and Eastern Europe, 5.5 per cent at Virgin Media and a flat indirect cost base. We continue to expect around 5 per cent rebased OCF growth for the full year.”

“On the innovation front, we remain at the forefront of delivering cutting-edge products and services. Earlier this month in Bochum, Germany, we launched our first gigabit broadband service powered by Docsis 3.1 technology. In addition, nearly half of our video and broadband bases now enjoy a next-generation set top and/or a WiFi connect box. Of course, we will continue to deploy market-leading products while readying our fiber-rich networks for Docsis 3.1 roll-outs across Europe.”

“We expect our previously announced sale of UPC Austria for €1.9 billion to T-Mobile Austria to close in the second half of 2018. In March, we announced the termination of our planned purchase of Multimedia Polska, which highlights our acquisition discipline as we stepped away from this opportunity when the remedies became too burdensome.”

“At March 31st 2018, our balance sheet had an average long-term debt tenor of more than seven years, a fully-swapped borrowing cost of 4.2 per cent and a liquidity position in excess of $4 billion. With regards to our share buyback programme, we bought nearly $500 million of stock in Q1 and remain on track to repurchase a total of $2 billion this year.”


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