Business Irish

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Mobile operator 3 narrows loss

John Mulligan

John Mulligan

MOBILE operator 3 narrowed its losses in Ireland last year by nearly a third to €19m as its revenue jumped and its market share grew.

Owned by Hong Kong-based conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa, 3 said revenue at its Irish arm rose 16pc last year to €174m.

That figure included €141m of service revenue, €30m generated from the sale of handsets and €3m in additional revenue.

The company hit the headlines in 2012 after launching a €2bn offer to buy bigger rival Eircom out of Examinership, but the bid failed when Eircom's lenders took control of the company.

3's market share in Ireland grew to 9pc last year from 7.7pc. Losses before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation narrowed by 32pc in 2012 to €19m. That was also achieved on the back of lower customer retention costs.

It had 819,000 customers in Ireland at the end of December, including 448,000 pre-paid subscribers. While 45pc of its customers are post-pay, they contribute 79pc of 3's total customer service revenue in Ireland.

But just 58pc of its total customer base is deemed to be active. That's up from 50pc in 2011 but still compares to an average of 79pc across the 3 group.

Mobile companies here have typically seen their profits severely eroded in recent years due to the downturn. Increased competition and generally higher customer retention costs have seen margins shrink.

Robert Finnegan, the chief executive of 3 in Ireland, said the latest set of results represent a "solid performance" in a competitive marketplace. The company broke even on an earnings before interest and tax basis.

"Our revenue has gone from €98m in 2010 to €174m in 2012, showing a 78pc growth in just two years," he said. "While the market is static, our growth is not and in 2013 with the roll out of 4G, that strong performance will continue."

Irish Independent

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