Swedish cable operator Com Hem has delivered moderately successful fourth quarter operating results and strong growth in free cash-flow as a result of improved underlying EBITDA and lower investment costs.
On the operational side, Com Hem added 8,000 unique subscribers in the fourth quarter, taking its total to 911,000 at the end of the year. Modest but solid sales of its TiVo advanced TV service saw the addition of 10,000 customers, taking its TiVo total to 224,000, representing 35% of the TV base. Overall, TV numbers grew by 4,000 to 635,000. The operator added 11,000 broadband customers, taking its total to 658,000.
Three months after the launch of Com Hem Play, the company’s on-demand player, the operator has seen streaming uptake grow by 45% and usage of TV Everywhere growing by 7%.
Com Hem posted fourth quarter revenue of SEK1.271 billion (€135 million), up 3.4% and underlying EBITDA of SEK595 million, up 3.3%. operating free cash flow surged by 42.4% to reach SEK326 million, while net losses were reduced to SEK41 million from SEK164 million for the same period in the prior year.
For the full year, revenue grew by 5% to reach SEK5 billion, including organic growth of 3.6%. Underlying EBITDA increased by 3.7% to reach SEK2.346 billion.
CEO Anders Nilsson said the company would switch from volume-led growth to a strategy of mixed volume and price-led growth next year, with its underlying EBITDA margin expected to be stable at around the 2015 level of 46.9%. Capital expenditure is expected to amount to SEK1-1.1 billion.
Com Hem plans to propose a cash dividend of SEK1.50 to its AGM in May, representing an increase of 50% on this year.
“Our final quarter of 2015 was another consistent quarter, with steady execution on our growth drivers delivering a sound foundation for the execution of our 2016 plan,” said Nilsson.
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