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Liberty Global’s profits up -
Liberty Global’s profits up
Written by Chris Forrester
Sunday, 09 May 2010 10:18
There was talk of earthquake amongst the Liberty Global Q1 results, announced May 7. An earthquake in Chile cost Liberty some 15,500 subs amongst the 24,000 homes destroyed. But overall profits were up, and for the first time in 5 successive quarters.
Chief Executive Mike Fries said the company saw strong demand for its advanced services, especially next-generation broadband products.
During the latest quarter, Liberty Global completed its acquisition of Unitymedia in Germany and also sold its 38% stake in Japanese cabler J:Com. In addition, the Chilean earthquake destroyed 24,000 homes, resulting in the loss of about 15,500 customers.
There was bad news also from its three key Central/Eastern Europe markets of Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia, which all reported negative numbers, and even FocusSat in Romania showing a very modest gain of just 1600 subs (to 182,600).
The company, part-owned by media mogul John Malone, was formed by the 2005 merger of Europe's then-largest cable operator, UnitedGlobalCom, and Malone's Liberty Media International. Revenue overall grew as customers subscribe to service bundles and move to digital services, but the company has yet to become consistently profitable because of losses on derivatives and currency changes. As of March 31, Liberty had 17.8m customers, up 32% from a year earlier and 33% from the fourth quarter.
For this latest quarter, Liberty Global, which operates cable networks mostly in Central Europe and Eastern Europe, reported a profit of $736.6m compared with a year-earlier loss of $298.7m. Revenue climbed 28% to $2.18bn, or 4% excluding acquisitions and changes in currency values.