Business Irish

Saturday 30 August 2014

UPC swings to €5m profit as upgrade yields dividends

John Mulligan

Published 05/01/2013 | 05:00

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UPC Ireland – the television, broadband and telephony provider – made a €5.1m operating profit in 2011, reversing a €13m loss it posted in 2010.

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The company – part of the US-based Liberty Global group – also managed to boost its revenues by over 10pc to €308.1m even as its customer numbers remained static at 533,000 that year.

The increase in revenue comes as UPC enjoys the fruits of a major €500m network upgrade that has seen it capture large chunks of the country's broadband and telephony market.

Increased

UPC Ireland, which employs close to 800 people here and is headed by Dana Strong, said that it expects to shortly reach a total of one million subscriptions to its TV, broadband and telephone services.

In the third quarter of 2012, UPC Ireland increased its subscription base by 110,000 across its three offerings.

Many of its customers subscribe to two or more products from the company. That brought its total subscription base at the end of the third quarter to 969,000.

It had 294,300 broadband customers, 22pc higher than in the third quarter of 2011. Just over 294,000 people were using its telephone service at the end of the third quarter, up 55pc year on year. It had 384,000 subscribers to its digital TV service, virtually unchanged since the beginning of 2012.

The company said yesterday that it has already surpassed 300,000 broadband subscriptions.

But the latest set of accounts just filed with the Companies Office show that its pre-tax loss rose to €49.2m in 2011 from €46m the previous year as UPC Ireland's interest bill soared. The accounts show that UPC paid just over €54m in interest and "similar charges" in 2011 – far higher than the €32.7m it paid in 2010.

The final loss for 2011 – at nearly €50m – was actually higher than the €46.5m loss it recorded in 2010.

The company also saw its cost of sales rise considerably in 2011, to €71.3m from €67.1m.

The accounts also show that TV and broadband services generated €259.1m of the company's revenue in 2011, up from €241.3m a year earlier. Telephony services accounted for €48.9m in revenue in 2011, compared to €36.7m in 2010.

UPC has steadily increased the speeds available under its basic broadband offering, eclipsing those on offer by its biggest rival, Eircom.

Irish Independent

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