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Telenet posts solid results and announces dividend

Liberty Global-backed Belgian cable operator Telenet has posted solid first-half results with what it described as improving trends for its video, broadband and fixed phone services, with marketing campaigns and fixed-term promotions leading to lower churn.

Telenet also added 34,600 post-paid mobile subscribers thanks to strong take-up of its converged WIGO offering. The company reported net additions of 17,500 WIGO subscribers.

Telenet posted first-half revenues of €1.251 billion, up 1% year-on-year. The company said its top line showed a slight decline on a like-for-like basis, however, thanks to competition and “regulatory headwinds”.

Telenet posted adjusted EBITDA of €645.5 million, up 9% on a reported basis and 7% on a like-for-like basis, driven by reduced MVNO costs following its on-boarding of full MVNO customers. The company posted a net profit of €108.9 million for the six months to June, compared with a profit of €76.6 million for the same period last year.

Telenet’s board meanwhile proposed an extraordinary dividend of €600 million following an assessment of “meaningful short-term M&A opportunities” and a decrease in its level of indebtedness thanks to its EBITDA growth.

Last week, hedge fund Lucerne Investment Partners threatened legal action against the operator over its governance, alleging undue influence on decision making by Liberty Global management. Lucerne’s discontent was reportedly fuelled by Telenet’s decision to pursue the acquisition of Wallonian cable operator Voo, rather than return additional cash to shareholders in the form of a dividend or share buybacks.