Financing costs and derivative losses hit Liberty Global bottom line

7 Nov 2013

Liberty Global has registered a net loss of USD830.1 million for the three months ended 30 September 2013 as increases in losses from derivative instruments, income tax and financing costs outstripped the group’s revenue growth. Turnover grew to USD4.371 billion in Q3 2013 compared to USD2.519 billion a year earlier on the back of a 40.2% increase in revenue generating units (RGUs) to 47.847 million. RGU growth was driven largely by the June 2013 acquisition of Virgin Media, and bolstered by the introduction of new multi-play packages and higher-speed broadband tariffs in a number of key markets. Net losses from derivative instruments more than tripled year-on-year from USD237.2 million to USD876.3 million, whilst interest expenses and income tax expenses reached USD630.2 million (54.2%) and USD228.8 million (274.5%) respectively.

Liberty Global registered quarterly net RGU additions of 315,900 in Q3 2013, fuelled by the addition of 213,000 broadband and 152,400 telephony RGUs and despite the net loss of 49,500 video RGUs. Triple-play subscriptions increased by 186,800 quarter-on-quarter to 9.725 million, making up approximately 39.7% of the group’s user base (+0.7 percentage points), although double- and single- play subscriptions dipped slightly, booking net losses of 57,600 and 129,400 users respectively. In terms of customer relationships, the group claimed to serve 24.474 million subscribers in Q3 2013, down by 200 from Q2 2013.

The firm’s Belgian unit, Telenet, the introduction of triple-play plans led to record net additions of 48,000 RGUs in Q3 2013, compared to 17,000 in the preceding three months. In the Netherlands, the launch of a new range of enhanced triple-play plans with 120Mbps broadband speeds saw net RGU additions grow to 8,000, the firm’s best result in the country since Q2 2012. VTR, Liberty Global’s Chilean subsidiary, registered net losses of 61,000 wireless subscribers as the telco shortened the period for excluding inactive subscribers to 30 days.

United Kingdom, United States, Liberty Global (incl. LGI)