New Zealand-based wholesale fixed line provider Chorus has announced its half-year 2020 financial results, reporting EBITDA of NZD332 million (USD210 million) for the six months ending 31 December 2019, an increase of NZD14 million compared with the year-ago period. The company noted a NZD20 million reduction in operating expenses to NZD151 million more than offset a NZD6 million drop in operating revenue to NZD483 million, while net earnings rose by just NZD1 million to NZD31 million due to higher finance expenses following the issue of bonds in December 2018 and 2019. Chorus increased its FY20 EBITDA guidance to between NZD640 million and NZD645 million, from the previous range of NZD625 million to NZD645 million, as it believes a combination of operating cost reductions and strong broadband connections growth will enable it to achieve its goal of returning to modest EBITDA growth in FY20.
The company reported total fibre broadband connections stood at 693,000 at 31 December 2019, up from 610,000 at end-June 2019, while total broadband connections rose by 10,000 over the same period, to 1.206 million. A decline in copper lines, however, saw total fixed line connections fall to 1.432 million, compared with 1.450 million six months earlier. The company said it now has 68% of its Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB) programme connections on fibre, with 1Gbps plans now accounting for 13% of its fibre plan uptake. Nonetheless, 100Mbps is still by far the most common plan, with Chorus recording around 50,000 new connections on that tariff in the six months, compared to 29,000 on 1Gbps.