Sunday 22 April 2018

Earnings increase to €135m at former UPC

Tony Hanway of Virgin Media
Tony Hanway of Virgin Media
Richard Branson arriving by juggernaut at the RDS for the announcement that UPC Ireland is to become Virgin Media.

Gordon Deegan

Earnings at the recently rebranded cable TV provider Virgin Media increased by 5pc to €135m last year in spite of a drop in customer numbers.

New figures lodged by UPC Communications Ireland Ltd - now trading as Virgin Media - show that the firm enjoyed the increase in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) as revenues rose by 1pc from €347.7m to €351m in the 12 months to the end of December last.

The higher profits came even as the company lost more than 15,000 customers. By the end of the year, UPC had little more than half a million clients.

Combined non-cash depreciation and amortisation costs of €96.48m contributed to the firm recording a pre-tax loss of €25.44m - down on the pre-tax loss of €32.7m in 2013.

According to the directors' report, "results for the year were in line with management expectations".

The directors state that they "are satisfied with the performance of the company for the year of trading".

They point out that the reduction in customer numbers was primarily attributable to MMDS digital products in rural areas.

The dated aerial system has been falling away for some years.

The directors say that the firm is investing its capital in the expansion and upgrade of its network to enable development and provision of advanced services to its customers.

The figures show that the firm last year incurred capital expenditure of €55.97m following a capital spend of €53.54m in 2013.

The filings also reveal that the firm paid €7.45m for wireless firm BitBuzz in December of last year.

The revenue breakdown at the Irish arm of US cable giant Liberty Global show that residential revenues make up 94pc with business revenues making up the remaining 6pc.

Operating profits at the firm increased by 18.6pc from €33.17m to €39.37m.

However, interest payable of €64.5m resulted in the pre-tax loss of €25.44m.

Numbers employed by UPC last year increased marginally from 775 to 777 with 386 in marketing and customer service; 323 in technical operations and 108 in administration.

The figures show that staff costs last year increased from €50.52m to €52.2m.

Virgin Media Ireland recently appointed former O2 Ireland boss Tony Hanway, inset, as CEO.

Irish Independent

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