C&W issues 1st Quarter Trading Update

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21 July 2015

 

This announcement provides an update on the First Quarter performance and financial position of the Group since the year ended 31 March 2015. Interim results for the period ending 30 September 2015 are expected to be announced on 5 November 2015.

Highlights

  • Group revenue of US$583 million, up 4%
    • CWC (excluding Columbus) revenue grew by 2%, Columbus up 12%
  • Mobile revenue flat against prior year with mobile data up 16% and 5% subscriber growth
    • LIME revenue growth of 10%, offset by a 9% decline in BTC due to reduced roaming rates
  • 7% broadband and 2% video subscriber growth across Group
  • Managed services revenue grew by 14% but Government contract awards in Panama were slow
  • Integration progressing well; new management and organisation in place – c.140 management FTEs identified as leavers
Phil Bentley, CEO C&W. Photo courtesy C&W
Phil Bentley, CEO C&W. Photo courtesy C&W

Phil Bentley, Chief Executive of CWC, commented

“In the First Quarter we have made a good start on integration and have maintained momentum through organic growth. Mobile revenue was flat against the prior year and good progress was made in broadband and video. In Panama, we saw a delay in Government contracts being awarded. However we have invested in our Latin American managed services sales and marketing teams and continued to see strong revenue growth there. Cost synergies have been identified and embedded in management targets for the year; a new retail store format has been developed with plans in place to harmonise our product offering under the FLOW brand; and early results from cross-selling initiatives have been positive. Based on the First Quarter’s trading we maintain our guidance for the year.”

Group Trading Performance

Mobile (40% of total Group revenue) was flat in the First Quarter as strong growth in LIME, up 10%, was offset by a 9% decline in BTC. LIME growth was driven by continued subscriber additions in Jamaica (+17%) where investment in our mobile network led to revenue growth of 24%, whilst in our latest LTE market of Antigua, mobile data grew by 100% and ARPU was up 22%. Panama mobile performance was in line with the prior year as postpaid growth driven by increased subscribers (up 12%) was offset by continued prepaid competition. As expected, total mobile revenue in BTC was impacted by reduced international roaming rates (roaming revenue down 40%) in advance of a new mobile competitor entering the market later this calendar year.

Fixed voice (15% of Group revenue) declined 5% versus the prior year, as pressure from mobile substitution led to reduced ARPU, particularly in Panama.

Broadband (13% of Group revenue) was 14% higher against the prior year, as subscribers grew across all regions. In Panama and LIME, we saw continued subscriber growth (+2% and +4% respectively) drive revenue higher as we focused on marketing strategies that targeted double and triple play bundles. In BTC, growth in broadband subscribers was offset by lower ARPU due to promotional strategies aimed at increasing market share. FLOW revenue growth was driven by subscriber additions in Trinidad, Barbados and Jamaica, and increased demand for higher tier data packages to enable running multiple connections and streaming content.

Video (9% of Group revenue) grew 11%. In Panama, subscribers were up 41%, and revenue rose 25%, driven by further penetration of our prepaid DTH service. We have recently launched an IPTV service in the Seychelles and plan to launch video across a number of Caribbean markets later this calendar year. FLOW revenue growth was driven by the phased implementation of higher ARPU Advanced Video Services (AVS) replacing legacy Video services. This increase was offset by lower subscribers due to adopting a more aggressive disconnection and debtor management process.

Managed Services (16% of Group revenue), grew 14% and was strengthened against the prior year by the acquisition of Sonitel in Panama. However there continued to be delays in awarding Government contracts in the First Quarter. Colombia performance was up 28%, aided by the Promitel acquisition in May 2014, whilst revenue in other Latin American markets, excluding Colombia, grew organically by 26%.

Wholesale (7% of Group revenue) grew 9% as rising demand for capacity more than offset unit price compression.

Capex: we invested US$158 million of capital expenditure in the First Quarter, up 5% on the prior year. Investments are weighted to the early part of the year as we combine legacy CWC and Columbus networks. However total spend for FY2015/16 is expected to be lower than FY2014/15. Of the total, 41% has been spent on expanding our mobile networks, improving network resiliency and optimising our traffic management, whilst 46% has been spent on improving our broadband and video offering through expansion of our fixed fibre networks. We continue to deploy fibre access points in Jamaica, The Bahamas, Panama, Barbados, Trinidad and St. Kitts and Nevis in preparation for further broadband and video expansion.

Integration: we have agreed the new Group organisation structure with senior management now accountable for individual synergy targets. On 17 July we launched our first unified, quad-play product suite under the FLOW brand in Barbados and will roll-out similar offerings across our other Caribbean markets through the year. We have also begun to cross-sell mobile products in Barbados to FLOW video customers and have seen positive initial results with a call success rate greater than 10% and over 1,000 new mobile postpaid subscribers added.

The Group is on-track to achieve our initial synergy target of US$85 million on a run-rate basis by the end of 2017/18 with c.140 FTEs at management levels identified as leavers. Further reductions are anticipated as the new organisational structure is implemented. Progress is also being made in combining fixed networks in markets such as Barbados and plans to create more efficient field force and back office operations are well underway.

Finally, further to the conditions for regulatory approval of the Columbus acquisition, we have appointed advisors to begin the marketing and disposal of our 49% stake in TSTT and of certain fibre assets in Barbados.

Group Net Debt

At 30 June 2015, Group net debt was US$2,605 million, an increase of US$239 million since 31 March 2015. Net debt comprised US$2,800 million gross debt and US$195 million cash, compared to US$2,768 million and US$402 million respectively at 31 March 2015. The increase in net debt was primarily due to costs associated with the acquisition of Columbus and a scheduled pension top-up payment of £31 million.

Key Performance Indicators

Subscribers Panama
(000s) 30 Jun 15 31 Mar 15 30 Jun 14
Mobile 1 2,073 2,087 2,052
Broadband 135 132 132
Video 62 56 44
Fixed line 367 366 369
ARPU 2 30 Jun 15 31 Mar 15 30 Jun 14
Mobile $14.0 $13.6 $14.6
Broadband $28.9 $29.3 $28.8
Video $31.1 $33.3 $33.8
Fixed line $22.6 $23.1 $24.4
Subscribers LIME
(000s) 30 Jun 15 31 Mar 15 30 Jun 14
Mobile 1 1,360 1,328 1,211
Broadband 224 224 216
Video 27 27 25
Fixed line 577 578 574
ARPU 2 30 Jun 15 31 Mar 15 30 Jun 14
Mobile $19.1 $19.0 $19.4
Broadband $36.9 $35.1 $36.3
Video $22.3 $22.2 $25.7
Fixed line $27.5 $27.7 $28.6

 

Subscribers BTC
(000s) 30 Jun 15 31 Mar 15 30 Jun 14
Mobile 1 315 318 308
Broadband 26 25 24
Video
Fixed line 95 99 103
ARPU 2 30 Jun 15 31 Mar 15 30 Jun 14
Mobile $57.1 $59.9 $64.8
Broadband $45.6 $48.5 $54.8
Video
Fixed line $38.8 $43.5 $38.7
Subscribers FLOW
(000s) 30 Jun 15 31 Mar 15 30 Jun 14
Mobile 1
Broadband 273 270 243
Video 369 377 380
Fixed line 71 71 63
ARPU 2 30 Jun 15 31 Mar 15 30 Jun 14
Mobile
Broadband $29.8 $29.4 $29.7
Video $38.1 $37.6 $37.5
Fixed line $16.6 $16.5 $17.1

 

Subscribers Seychelles
(000s) 30 Jun 15 31 Mar 15 30 Jun 14
Mobile 1 87 87 83
Broadband 7 7 7
Video
Fixed line 18 17 17
ARPU 2 30 Jun 15 31 Mar 15 30 Jun 14
Mobile $27.4 $26.3 $31.6
Broadband $143.7 $131.1 $131.2
Video
Fixed line $40.9 $32.4 $39.0
Subscribers TOTAL GROUP
(000s) 30 Jun 15 31 Mar 15 30 Jun 14
Mobile 1 3,835 3,820 3,654
Broadband 665 658 622
Video 458 460 449
Fixed line 1,128 1,131 1,126
Total 6,086 6,069 5,851

 

 1 Active subscribers are defined as those having performed a revenue-generating event in the previous 60 days
2 ARPU is average revenue per user per month, Columbus ARPU is for residential customers only