UK-based cable group Liberty Global has reported an 18% year-on-year decrease in first quarter revenue across its European operations (Liberty Global Group) to USD3.5 billion, attributing the slump primarily to the completion of its joint venture with Vodafone in the Netherlands, which led to the deconsolidation of its operations in the country. Operating Cash Flow (OCF) for Liberty Global Group totalled USD1.6 billion for the three months ended 31 March 2017, compared to USD2.0 billion in Q1 2016, citing negative foreign exchange movements and the deconsolidation of its Netherlands division for the decrease. In its Latin American markets (LiLAC Group), meanwhile, Liberty reported a 200% increase in turnover to USD911 million off the back off its acquisition of Cable and Wireless Communications (CWC). Similarly, LiLAC booked a 190% increase in OCF for Q1 2017 to USD354 million.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, Liberty Global and Vodafone completed the merger of their respective Ziggo and Vodafone Netherlands operations on 31 December 2016 to create a 50:50 joint venture that will continue to operate under both brands as ‘VodafoneZiggo’. Under the JV agreement, neither Vodafone nor Liberty Global will consolidate VodafoneZiggo, instead reporting the unit as an equity affiliate or associate by both companies.
In operational terms, Liberty Global Group counted a total of 45.0 million RGUs and 21.9 million customers at the end of March 2017, down from 53.6 million and 25.7 million respectively in March 2016, but an increase from 44.8 million RGUs and 21.8 million customers at end-December 2016. LiLAC reported RGU and subscriber growth on an annual basis, although expansion quarter-on-quarter was flat, with the group registering a total of 5.4 million RGUs in March 2017 – compared to 3.5 million Q1 2016 and 5.4 million in Q4 2016 – and 2.9 million unique customers at that date, from 1.7 million in March 2016 and 2.9 million in December that year.