Cable & Wireless Reports Preliminary Results For The Period Ended December 31, 2016
QTD Rebased Revenue Growth of 1% to $594 million ; Jamaica Mobile Subscriber Base Over 900,000; Up 56,000 in Quarter; Panama "Mast3r" Bundles Gaining Traction
– Cable & Wireless Communications Limited ("CWC") is the leading telecommunications operator in substantially all of its consumer markets, which are predominantly located in the Caribbean and Latin America, providing entertainment, information and communication services to 3.5 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 EBITDA1 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 and nine months ended December 31, 2016 ("QTD" and "YTD", respectively) have also been aligned to Liberty Global’s IASB-IFRS2 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 3, 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 Additions section below. In addition, effective for the 2016 fiscal year, CWC has changed its fiscal year end from March 31 to December 31 to conform with Liberty Global.
- Organic increase (decrease) in RGUs of 2,000 YTD and (20,000) QTD were impacted by an adjustment that we recorded in Q4 to eliminate 30,000 non-paying subscribers from our subscriber counts
- Internet and telephony subscribers were up 7,000 and 2,000, respectively, YTD on an organic basis, as we increased penetration across our high speed networks and sold more bundled packages, particularly in Jamaica and Trinidad
- At December 31, 2016, 11% of our customers subscribed to a triple-play product, 33% to a double-play product, and 56% took only one product from us. While continuing to improve, our bundling ratio of 1.54 RGUs per customer remains relatively low, which provides ample runway for continued RGU growth as we seek to sell additional products to our customers
- Mobile subscribers grew by 11,000 on an organic basis YTD, and by 50,000 QTD as promotions drove increased sales during the holiday period, particularly in Jamaica and the Bahamas
- Highlights across our largest markets were as follows:
- In Panama, enhanced video subscriber growth accelerated QTD following the launch of our new “Mast3r” bundles during September 2016, and we added 14,000 video subscribers on an organic basis YTD. Of the customers taking our Mast3r products in December, 62% and 13% subscribed to a double-play or triple-play bundle, respectively. Telephony and internet subscribers fell due to continued fixed to mobile substitution as well as churn from our copper network. Our postpaid mobile subscriber base continued to grow, driven by the strength of our network and service quality, but was more than offset by prepaid subscriber losses due to the continued competitive intensity
- Jamaica continued its mobile subscriber momentum with particularly strong growth QTD as mobile subscribers rose by 56,000, moving above 900,000 in total for the first time. We posted 21,000 organic RGU additions with growth across our internet and telephony services driven by improved bundling propositions
- In the Bahamas we grew subscribers across mobile, video and internet products YTD. Momentum is steadily building in our video RGU base through penetration of our newly constructed Fiber-to-the-Home (FttH) network. Despite the entrance into the market of our first mobile competitor in November 2016, we were able to grow our subscriber base by 6,000 QTD through increased data-led promotional activity
- Barbados mobile subscribers were broadly stable YTD with an improving trend QTD whereby our base grew by 3,000 following successful data-led promotions during the holiday period. Fixed-line telephony RGUs fell YTD due to a heightened competitive environment combined with customer experience challenges during our ongoing program to upgrade customers from our legacy copper to nationwide fiber based network
- Trinidad RGUs were broadly flat YTD on an organic basis as a video decline of 12,000 resulting from increased competition was largely offset by growth in telephony and broadband.
* The financial figures contained in this release are prepared in accordance with IASB-IFRS. CWC's financial condition and results of operations will be included in Liberty Global’s consolidated financial statements under U.S. GAAP4. There are significant differences between the U.S. GAAP and IASB-IFRS presentations of our consolidated financial statements.
1 - 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.
2 - International Financial Reporting Standards, as promulgated by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), are referred to as IASB-IFRS.
3 - 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 June 30, 2015, September 30, 2015 and December 31, 2015 and the nine months ended December 31, 2015 to reflect the impacts in the three months ended June 30, 2016, September 30, 2016 and December 31, 2016 and the nine months ended December 31, 2016 of the alignment to Liberty Global’s accounting policies and to reflect the translation of our rebased amounts for the three months ended June 30, 2015, September 30, 2015 and December 31, 2015 and the nine months ended December 31, 2015 at the applicable average foreign currency exchange rates that were used to translate CWC's results for the three and nine months ended December 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 and nine months ended December 31, 2015 to eliminate nonrecurring items or to give retroactive effect to any changes in estimates that have been implemented in the three and nine months ended December 31, 2016. 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.
4 - Accounting principles generally accepted in the United States are referred to as U.S. GAAP.
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