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Cable & Wireless Reports Preliminary Q1 2017 Results

Revenue 4% Lower, Stabilizing Operations and Building for Future 10,000 RGU Adds in Q1 Supported by Broadband, Reversing Q4 Decline Double-digit Rebased Revenue Growth in Networks & LatAm Network Investment Underway; ~50,000 Premises Upgraded/Built

Cable & Wireless Communications Limited ("CWC") is the leading telecommunications operator in substantially all its consumer markets, which are predominantly located in the Caribbean and Latin America, providing entertainment, information and communication services to 3.6 million mobile, 0.4 million television, 0.6 million internet and 0.8 million fixed-line telephony subscribers. In addition, CWC delivers B2B services and provides wholesale services over its sub-sea and terrestrial networks that connect over 30 markets across the region.

Liberty Global's Acquisition of CWC

On May 16, 2016, a subsidiary of Liberty Global plc (“Liberty Global”) acquired CWC (the "Liberty Global Transaction"). Revenue, Adjusted Segment EBITDA3 and subscriber statistics have been presented herein using Liberty Global’s definitions for all periods presented unless otherwise noted. Further adjustments to these metrics are possible as the integration process continues. The results for the three months ended March 31, 2017 have also been aligned to Liberty Global’s IASB-IFRS1 accounting policies and estimates. Significant policy adjustments have been considered in our calculation of rebased growth rates for revenue and Adjusted Segment EBITDA. For additional information on Liberty Global’s definition of Adjusted Segment EBITDA and rebased growth rates, see footnotes 1 and 4, respectively. A reconciliation of net earnings (loss) to Adjusted Segment EBITDA is included in the Financial Results, Adjusted Segment EBITDA Reconciliation & Property, Equipment and Intangible Asset Additions5 section below. In addition, effective for the 2016 fiscal year, CWC changed its fiscal year end from March 31 to December 31 to conform with Liberty Global.

Operating highlights:

  • Delivered Q1 Organic RGU6 additions of 10,000
    • Internet7 and fixed-line telephony8 subscribers were up 7,000 and 3,000, respectively, on an organic basis, as we increased penetration across our high-speed networks with bundling success in Jamaica, Panama and Trinidad
    • Video subscribers were flat as losses in Jamaica and Trinidad were offset by gains in Panama and the Bahamas
    • At March 31, 2017, we had a bundling ratio of 1.54 RGUs per customer, as 11% of our customers9 subscribed to triple-play, 32% subscribed to double-play and 57% to a single product. Our high single-play penetration provides potential for continued bundling success
  • Mobile subscribers10 increased by 27,000 on an organic basis, driven by prepaid additions in Panama
  • Highlights across our largest markets were as follows:
    • In Panama, we continued to build momentum through a revitalized go-to-market approach, adding 8,000 RGUs in the quarter. Of note, we added 2,000 internet and 2,000 cable video RGUs in Q1, as our bundled offers gained traction through network investments enabling faster speeds of up to 300 Mbps. We also continued to grow our DTH11 base, adding 3,000 RGUs in Q1 as we targeted more rural areas where we do not provide video through our hybrid fiber coaxial ("HFC") network. Our prepaid mobile base grew by 49,000 subscribers in the quarter as we launched data-led promotions and benefited from the seasonal Carnival uplift
    • In Jamaica we added 2,000 internet and 3,000 fixed-line telephony RGUs, however these were offset by a 5,000 video RGU decline. On the mobile front, we lost 10,000 subscribers in Q1, due to prepaid churn following increased promotional activity in the prior quarter
    • In the Bahamas, we added 2,000 RGUs in Q1 with momentum steadily building as we increased penetration of our newly constructed Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) network. The entry of our first mobile competitor in November 2016 had an impact on our base, as we lost 6,000 mobile subscribers, both prepaid and postpaid, in the quarter
    • Barbados RGUs declined by 2,000 in total, primarily resulting from a decline in our fixed-line telephony subscribers. We saw stability across video and internet RGUs as we improved service quality across our fixed network, which was a significant improvement compared to an aggregate loss of 5,000 RGUs in the prior quarter across these two products. On the mobile front, we lost 3,000 subscribers from churn following the heavy promotional activity during the December holiday period
    • Trinidad RGU additions were broadly flat, as a 3,000 video subscriber decline resulting from continued competitive intensity was offset by growth in fixed-line telephony through bundling promotions

Footnotes

*   The financial figures contained in this release are prepared in accordance with IASB-IFRS1. CWC's financial condition and results of operations will be included in Liberty Global’s consolidated financial statements under U.S. GAAP2. There are significant differences between the U.S. GAAP and IASB-IFRS presentations of our consolidated financial statements.

 

1 International Financial Reporting Standards, as promulgated by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), are referred to as IASBIFRS.

 

2 Accounting principles generally accepted in the United States are referred to as U.S. GAAP.

  Adjusted Segment EBITDA is the primary measure used by our management to evaluate the company’s performance. Adjusted Segment EBITDA is also a key factor that is used by our internal decision makers to evaluate the effectiveness of our management for purposes of annual and other incentive compensation plans. We define EBITDA as earnings before net finance expense, income taxes and depreciation and amortization. As we use the term, Adjusted Segment EBITDA is defined as EBITDA before share-based compensation, provisions and provision releases related to significant litigation, impairment, restructuring and other operating items and related-party fees and allocations. Other operating items include (i) gains and losses on the disposition of long-lived assets, (ii) third-party costs directly associated with successful and unsuccessful acquisitions and dispositions, including legal, advisory and due diligence fees, as applicable, and (iii) other acquisition-related items, such as gains and losses on the settlement of contingent consideration. Our internal decision makers believe Adjusted Segment EBITDA is a meaningful measure because it represents a transparent view of our recurring operating performance that is unaffected by our capital structure and allows management to readily view operating trends and identify strategies to improve operating performance. We believe our Adjusted Segment EBITDA measure is useful to investors because it is one of the bases for comparing our performance with the performance of other companies in the same or similar industries, although our measure may not be directly comparable to similar measures used by other companies. Adjusted Segment EBITDA should be viewed as a measure of operating performance that is a supplement to, and not a substitute for EBIT, net earnings (loss), cash flow from operating activities and other EU-IFRS or IASB-IFRS measures of income or cash flows. A reconciliation of Adjusted Segment EBITDA to net loss is presented in the Unitymedia section of this release.

 

4   For purposes of calculating rebased growth rates on a comparable basis for the CWC borrowing group, we have adjusted the historical revenue and Adjusted Segment EBITDA for the three months ended March 31, 2016 to reflect the impacts of the alignment to Liberty Global’s accounting policies and to reflect the translation of our rebased amounts for the three months ended March 31, 2017 at the applicable average foreign currency exchange rates that were used to translate CWC's results for the three months ended March 31, 2016. The most significant adjustments to conform to Liberty Global's policies relate to the capitalization of certain installation activities that previously were expensed, the reflection of certain lease arrangements as capital leases that previously were accounted for as operating leases and the reflection of certain time-based licenses as operating expenses that previously were capitalized. We have not adjusted the three months ended March 31, 2016 to eliminate nonrecurring items or to give retroactive effect to any changes in estimates that have been implemented in the three months ended March 31, 2017. The adjustments reflected in our rebased amounts have not been prepared with a view towards complying with Article 11 of Regulation S-X. In addition, the rebased growth rates are not necessarily indicative of the rebased revenue and Adjusted Segment EBITDA that would have occurred if the acquisition of CWC had occurred on the date assumed for purposes of calculating our rebased amounts or the revenue and Adjusted Segment EBITDA that will occur in the future. The rebased growth percentages have been presented as a basis for assessing growth rates on a comparable basis, and are not presented as a measure of our pro forma financial performance.

 

  Property, equipment and intangible asset additions include capital expenditures on an accrual basis, amounts financed under vendor financing or capital lease arrangements and other non-cash additions.

 

6   RGU is separately a Basic Video Subscriber, Enhanced Video Subscriber, DTH Subscriber, Internet Subscriber or Telephony Subscriber (each as defined and described below). A home, residential multiple dwelling unit, or commercial unit may contain one or more RGUs. For example, if a residential customer in our Austrian market subscribed to our enhanced video service, fixed-line telephony service and broadband internet service, the customer would constitute three RGUs. Total RGUs is the sum of Basic Video, Enhanced Video, DTH, Internet and Telephony Subscribers. RGUs generally are counted on a unique premises basis such that a given premises does not count as more than one RGU for any given service. On the other hand, if an individual receives one of our services in two premises (e.g. a primary home and a vacation home), that individual will count as two RGUs for that service. Each bundled cable, internet or telephony service is counted as a separate RGU regardless of the nature of any bundling discount or promotion. Non-paying subscribers are counted as subscribers during their free promotional service period. Some of these subscribers may choose to disconnect after their free service period. Services offered without charge on a longterm basis (e.g., VIP subscribers, free service to employees) generally are not counted as RGUs. We do not include subscriptions to mobile services in our externally reported RGU counts. In this regard, our March 31, 2017 RGU counts exclude our separately reported postpaid and prepaid mobile subscribers.

 

7   Internet Subscriber is a home, residential multiple dwelling unit or commercial unit that receives internet services over our networks, or that we service through a partner network.

 

8   Telephony Subscriber is a home, residential multiple dwelling unit or commercial unit that receives voice services over our networks, or that we service through a partner network. Telephony Subscribers exclude mobile telephony subscribers.

 

9  Customer Relationships are the number of customers who receive at least one of our video, internet or telephony services that we count as Revenue Generating Units (“RGUs”), without regard to which or to how many services they subscribe. To the extent that RGU counts include equivalent billing unit (“EBU”) adjustments, we reflect corresponding adjustments to our Customer Relationship counts. For further informatio regarding our EBU calculation, see Additional General Notes below. Customer Relationships generally are counted on a unique premises basis. Accordingly, if an individual receives our services in two premises (e.g., a primary home and a vacation home), that individual generally will count as two Customer Relationships. We exclude mobile-only customers from Customer Relationships.

 

10 Our mobile subscriber count represents the number of active subscriber identification module (“SIM”) cards in service rather than services provided. For example, if a mobile subscriber has both a data and voice plan on a smartphone this would equate to one mobile subscriber. Alternatively, a subscriber who has a voice and data plan for a mobile handset and a data plan for a laptop (via a dongle) would be counted as two mobile subscribers. Customers who do not pay a recurring monthly fee are excluded from our mobile telephony subscriber counts after periods of inactivity ranging from 30 to 90 days, based on industry standards within the respective country.

 

11 DTH Subscriber is a home, residential multiple dwelling unit or commercial unit that receives our video programming broadcast directly via a geosynchronous satellite.

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