Liberty boosted by Unitymedia and J:Com, plans new services

Liberty Global has reported cash and profit gains for the first quarter having consolidated the results of German cabler Unitymedia and recorded the proceeds of selling its interest in Japanese MSO J:Com.

The 1Q10 figures are the first to include Unitymedia, which was bought this January and delivered 8% growth in cash flow for the two months worth of results included in the quarterly report. Meanwhile, the J:Com sale, concluded in February, boosted Liberty’s cash position and the company said it has a cash reserve of US$4.2bn (€3.3bn).

Across Liberty’s entire footprint it recorded 17.8 million subs at the end of the first quarter including 204,000 net organic additions. TV services accounted for 63% of the customer base although next generation broadband is driving overall customer growth. TV subs fell 116,000, driven by churning customers in Romania and to a lesser extent Belgium.

New subscribers in western Europe accounted for almost all of the organic customer growth, coming in at 174,000. Central and eastern Europe delivered 22,000 new customers. Liberty also noted that it lost 15,000 subs at Chilean MSO VTR as a result of the earthquake the country suffered in February.

Liberty posted revenue of US$481m for the quarter, a 28% year-on-year increase.

Delivering a presentation at the ANGA Cable congress on Wednesday, Manuel Kohnstamm, managing director, public policy and communications at Liberty Global, said the operator planned to deliver a range of new TV services on top of its high-speed broadband offering, without providing further details. “We will deploy a set of advanced services that will integrate increasingly with our high-speed broadband product,” said Kohnstamm. “We want to use our bandwidth superiority to enrich the TV experience.”