Liberty Global results hit by price hikes, but maintains outlook

Liberty Global’s subscriber numbers were hit by the impact of price hikes in the second quarter, while the impact of those price rises on revenue has largely still to be felt.

Fries said that the company’s commercial momentum had been affected by the price rises across its markets. While these will support EBITDA growth in the second half of the year, for now the biggest impact is downward pressure on subs. The company lost an aggregate 60,000 net broadband subs in the quarter. On the pplus side, it managed to add 50,500 aggregate post-paid net mobile customers.

Overall, Liberty lost 29,300 customers in the quarter, a significantly worse performance than the 19,900 it lost this time last year.

Revenue was US1.848 billion, more or less flat year-on-year, while adjusted EBITDA was down 6.8% to Us$601.4 million.

Liberty Global maintained its full-year outlook. Despite the bad news on subscribers, Fries said the company was well positioned to achieve its 2023 guidance across all operating companies and deliver US$1.76 billions of distributable cash flow at the parent company.

Among Liberty’s operating company subsidiaries and JVs, Swiss JV Sunrise saw its fixed broadband base decline by 2,800, but contract mobile customers rose by 24,000. The fixed-line losses were attributed to less aggressive marketing and the switch from the UPC to Sunrise brand. The company had 2.8 million mobile, 1.19 million internet and 1.23 million TV customers at the end of the quarter, with FMC penetration standing at 58%.

The company said that the impact of price rises on July 1 has been limited both in mobile and broadband.

Belgium’s Telenet, now almost completely controlled by Liberty, also saw its operational performance adversely hit by inflationary price hikes, as well as IT issues.

Its broadband base fell by 5,000 and its mobile base by 5,400 revenue-generating units, with TV numbers also dropping. Revenues were up 2% like-for-like to €1.407 billion, but the company’s bottom line turned to the red with a €12 million loss, impacted by an unfavourable comparison last year when the company benefited from the sale of its mobile infrastructure business.

In the Netherlands, VodafoneZiggo also saw its fixed base decline, with the loss of 35,400 subs. The losses contributed to a decline in fixed revenue of 2.7%. Mobile revenue grew by 3.3% however, with th aditoin of 14,100 mobile contract customers.

Virgin Media O2 in the UK was also hit by the impact of price rises (see separate story).

Read Next