Business Irish

Sunday 30 April 2017

Sport gives Eir a boost with €121m in earnings

Ireland’s Rob Kearney takes on the All Blacks defence in the famous victory in Chicago. The match coverage and other exclusive content helped Eir lift its sports viewers to more than 200,000
Ireland’s Rob Kearney takes on the All Blacks defence in the famous victory in Chicago. The match coverage and other exclusive content helped Eir lift its sports viewers to more than 200,000
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Telecoms firm Eir has recorded its seventh consecutive quarter of revenue growth and its eighth of earnings growth and is on a "really strong trajectory", according to ceo Richard Moat.

Underlying revenue at the former semi-state company - whose strategy is to evolve into a media business - rose 2pc to €336m in the second quarter of its financial year. Its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 4pc to €121m in the quarter.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Mr Moat said that a number of factors had underpinned the performance in the latest quarter, including the continued roll-out of its fibre broadband network.

Eir said that its fibre network passed 1.6 million premises at the end of December, connecting 31pc of customers. With its fibre to the home network (FTTH), Eir said that it passed a total of 53,000 premises at the end of December, compared to 34,000 at the end of September.

Mr Moat said that the company is where it expected to be in terms of the roll-out, despite it indicating in November that the number of FTTH homes passed by the end of 2016 would be closer to 70,000.

"We're going to be achieving in excess of 35,000 homes passed per quarter," said Mr Moat.

"So, by the time we get to the end of this financial year at June 30, we'll have well over 80,000 of 300,000 rural homes passed."

Those 300,000 homes are within the Government's National Broadband Plan (NBP) footprint.

The NBP contract is due to be awarded some time this year. Siro - a Vodafone-ESB joint venture - and Enet are also contenders.

Eir said that just over 200,000 customers are now viewing its sports service on the mobile devices and laptops.

Eir expects its capital expenditure as a percentage of revenue to be between 19pc and 22pc this year.

"With the plan we've communicated, we do not see that dropping in the near future," said chief financial officer Huib Costermans.

Mr Moat added that notwithstanding the performance of the business, a stock market flotation is still probably not on the cards until 2019 at the earliest.

He added that major shareholders in the company are among those who'll benefit from shares held in a management incentive scheme that were valued at €181m last year.

Irish Independent

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