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Tele Columbus to launch new consumer brand, planning further acquisitions

Tele Columbus CEO and chairman, Ronny Verhelst.

Tele Columbus CEO and chairman, Ronny Verhelst.

Germany’s third-largest cable operator Tele Columbus plans to launch a new consumer brand later this year and will pursue “further network acquisition opportunities” following solid preliminary 2016 results, according to CEO Ronny Verhelst.

Ahead of publishing its fully audited full-year results at the end of this month, Verhelst also said that the operator’s launch of an advanced TV service had better positioned it as a digital entertainment company as well as a broadband infrastructure provider.

Our strong 2016 results prove that we have set the right strategic initiatives pushing organic growth, expanding the B2B business, pursuing further network acquisition opportunities and driving synergies from our integration process,” said Verhelst.

“While we have entered a new dimension developing the Tele Columbus Group into a digital entertainment company with the introduction of our new advanceTV platform, we will continue to drive our core broadband business with undiminished investments in our infrastructure. And our story will become even more compelling with the launch of a new consumer brand towards the second half of 2017.”

The operator posted revenues of €478.4 million for the full year, up 3.9%, and EBITDA of €250.3 million, up 7.1%.

The operator added 20,000 internet subscribers in the fourth quarter, taking its full year broadband net adds to 58,000 and its overall internet base to 520,000.

The number of homes connected rose by 3,000 year-on-year to 3.608 million, with the proportion of upgraded homes reaching 63.3%. Tele Columbus said it was on target to have 71% of homes upgraded in the medium term.

Tele Columbus confirmed its medium term targets of 1.8 revenue-generating units per customer, blended ARPU of €18, mid-to-high single digit revenue growth and high single-digit EBITDA growth.

The company expects capital expenditure to peak this year and trend towards that of peer companies. Capex for this year was €153.1 million, peaking in the fourth quarter as the company accelerated its upgrade programme.