Liberty ups revenues, upbeat on 2010

International pay-TV platform operator Liberty Global says it is bullish on its 2010 prospects and, with a stockpile of cash at hand, it has the ability to make acquisitions and buy back its stock this year. The company reported full-year results on February 24. Revenue came in at US$11.1bn (€8.2bn) compared with US$10.5bn a year earlier. The annual net loss was narrowed to US$412.1m compared with US$788.9m in 2008. The company posted a 4Q09 profit of US$100m, having registered a US$752.6m loss in the corresponding period a year earlier.

“We are optimistic about our growth prospects for 2010, particularly given the positive subscriber trends we are seeing with respect to next-generation broadband Internet and digital video services,” said Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries.

Liberty has become much more Europe-focused, having recently completed its acquisition of German cabler Unitymedia and sale of its interest in Japanese cabler J:Com. The company said 85% of revenue now come from its European operations.

Across all of its cable and DTH operations Liberty’s customer base fell 0.6%, taking the total to 16.6 million. The majority of these came under the UPC Broadband banner. It ended 2009 with 9.1 million customers, a 2.2% decrease year on year. However, double and triple play subscriber numbers were up across the board. UPC registered a 16% increase in triple play subs. Belgium cabler Telenet saw triple play customers increase 24.1% and in Latin America, VTR notched a 6.8% uptick in customers taking all three of its services.

Monthly ARPU also increased at UPC and Telenet. UPC notched a 3.8% hike, taking the monthly total to €23.65. ARPU was up 4.7% at Telenet at €35.74.

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