Liberty drops subs, ups share buyback
August 8, 2019
Liberty Global reported sales from continuing operations down 0.9 per cent in the second quarter as it shed 29,000 cable subs versus a gain of 41,000 in year ago quarter. There were net losses of 5,000 at Virgin Media in the UK, 20,000 at Telenet in Belgium and 28,000 at UPC Switzerland, offset by a net gain 24,000 in Poland and Slovakia. The Swiss operation is expected to follow German and East European units out the door in Q4.
The company announced some proceeds from the sale of operations to Vodafone will be spent on share buybacks. Liberty said it expects to have over $14 billion (€15.64bn) in liquidity once it completes its divestments later this year and it will devote $2.5 billion of this to buying back its shares. Nearly $300 million was spent already in Q2 on share repurchases. Following the closing of the Vodafone deal, Liberty Global also reduced its debt leverage to around 3.0x from 5.2x at the end of Q2.
Revenue totalled $2.85 billion in the quarter. Organic operating cash flow from continuing operations dropped 4.3 per cent to $1.19 billion, excluding Switzerland.