International TV and broadband company Liberty Global’s Q2 and H1 results have been boosted by record Virgin Media rebased revenue growth and subscriber additions.
It reported overall company Q2 Revenue of $3.0 billion (€2.559bn) and YoY growth up 2.7 per cent, but with Q2 residential cable revenue of $2.0 billion down 1.8 per cent year-over-year. Virgin Media delivered 118,000 new premises in the UK & Ireland, with a larger contribution from both new build areas and its existing footprint. This was driven by its core offers in the UK focused on triple-play bundles, which included a doubling of broadband speeds combined with its V6 set-top box.
“Our second quarter results were underpinned by continued momentum at Virgin Media, which generated record Q2 rebased revenue and subscriber growth, delivering a 4.1 per cent top-line increase while adding 112,000 net RGU additions,” advised Mike Fries, CEO. “Enhanced broadband speeds and the continued roll out of our V6 set-top box helped deliver a substantial increase in our triple-play acquisitions, improved growth on our existing footprint and increased ARPU. Our other operations delivered mixed results, with Germany achieving a solid performance, offset by challenging competitive markets in Switzerland and Belgium.”
“We recently announced several management changes that highlight our commitment to putting the best and brightest in critical positions. Enrique Rodriguez was named our Chief Technology Officer. Enrique brings a wealth of C-level experience to the table and we’re excited to tap his deep industry and technical knowledge. At Virgin Media, we announced the appointment of Lutz Schüler as Chief Operating Officer. Over the past eight years, Lutz has guided Unitymedia in Germany to unprecedented success, and we couldn’t be happier to keep him in the Liberty family. Finally, we announced the appointments of Severina Pascu as CEO of UPC Switzerland and Eric Tveter as Chairman of our Swiss business and CEO of our operations in Eastern Europe.
Last week, we announced the closing of the sale of UPC Austria for over $2 billion or ~11x OCF, generating net proceeds of approximately $1.1 billion after taking into account the repayment of debt that we attribute to UPC Austria. These net proceeds will be used to increase our share repurchase programme by $500 million and to repay additional debt across select credit pools of Liberty Global. With respect to the Vodafone deal announced back in May, we continue to target a mid-2019 closing.
At June 30, 2018, our continuing operations had an average debt tenor of more than seven years, a fully-swapped borrowing cost of 4.0 per cent and a liquidity position in excess of $3 billion. During Q2 we significantly ramped our share repurchase activity and bought back nearly $800 million of stock.”