Euskaltel names new chairman, reports stronger growth

Xabier Iturbe Otaegi

Spanish regional cable operator Euskaltel has named a new chairman and reported growth in profitability following a series of changes put in place by its new management.

Euskaltel has named Xabier Iturbe Otaegi, vice-president of Basque regional bank Kutxabank, one of the company’s shareholders, as its chairman, replacing Alberto García Erauzkin.

Iturbe has also held executive roles within Euskaltel, serving as head of finance and control from 2000-08.

Iturbe’s replacement of García Erauzkin follows the appointment of José Miguel García as Euskaltel’s CEO at the behest of leading shareholder Zegona Communications and the introduction of sweeping changes that included closer integration of the operator’s regional units and a more assertive national expansion plan.

In its first full quarter since putting in place its new strategy, Euskaltel reported revenue of €171.1 million, up 0.1%, which represents a return to growth. EBITDA was up 2.8% to €86.8 million, with a 50.7% revenue margin, up 134 base points in the quarter. Operating cash flow was up 8.1% to €49.8 million, with an operating cash flow margin of 29.1%, up 210 base points on the previous quarter.

Euskaltel said it had gained 1,000 new customers in the period, compared with 6,000 lost for the same period last year. The three operating units covering the Basque Country, Galicia and Asturias saw growth in service contracts of 6,000, taking the number of contracted services to 2.83 million.

The company grew its pay TV base by 1,500 to 4666,000, while broadband numbers were up 3,100 to 590,000. Postpaid mobile lines grew by 3,600 to pass the 1.15 million milestone.

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