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Altice sees operational improvements, but French unit still lagging

Despite flat year-on-year revenues, Altice Europe is “already starting to see the benefits of intensifying operational focus to improve customer service and drive better subscriber figures”, the company said in its full-year 2017 results statement.

Altice said it expected “further significant progress” from this quarter as it attempts to turn its fortunes around by disposing of non-core assets and build up its subscriber base.

The company added 80,000 net new mobile customers in France in the fourth quarter, its best performance in two years, and grew its fibre bae by 69,000 – again the best performance in two years.

The total residential customer base in France fell by 45,000 in Q4, again a significant year-on-year improvement.

Despite the positive gloss, Altice France’s revenues dipped significantly in the fourth quarter, which had been expected by analysts. The telco is significantly underperforming its peers, which saw revenues grew in the course of the year, while SFR dipped by 1.6%

Altice overall saw revenue dip by 0.6% for the year, with an improvement of the same magnitude on a constant currency basis. Adjusted EBITDA grew by 6.4% on a constant currency basis prior to the split between the company’s European and US arms, while Altice Europe – the new European unit set-up as part of that reorganization – saw its EBITDA margin improve slightly. Altice USA saw its EBITDA margin improve more significantly by six percentage points.

Altice’s overall revenues for the year stood at €23.4 billion, while adjusted EBITDA was €5.2 billion.