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Liberty Global Sees European Operating Income Down 18% in Q1

Variety logo Variety 5/8/2017 Robert Mitchell
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Liberty Global has announced first quarter 2017 results for its Liberty Global Group and LiLAC Group. European operating income for Liberty Global Group was down 18% year-on-year at $431 million, owing to decreases in operating cash flow (OCF), depreciation and amortization.

“In terms of our European financials, we had a soft start to the year on the revenue front with 2% rebased growth in Q1, mainly due to challenging mobile results in Belgium and the U.K.,” said Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries (pictured). “Consistent with our projection for full-year growth to be back-end loaded again this year, we generated 4% rebased OCF growth in Q1.”

The group added 40,000 new customers, with organic revenue generating units up 40%, with 244,300 net additions.

Fries said first quarter investments in U.K. marketing for Virgin Media’s broadband capabilities, new 4K set-top box and new 4G quad-play offerings should help deliver stronger results in the second half of 2017.

“We continue to anticipate approximately $1.5 billion of OCF for full-year 2017 and are preparing for the hard spin of LiLAC Group towards the end of the year,” said Fries.

Fries said the company had anticipated a challenging first quarter at LiLAC, its Latin American and Caribbean operation, due to comparison against prior year results for Cable & Wireless Communications, which he called an “an anomaly when compared to preceding and subsequent quarters.” Liberty Global completed acquisition of Cable & Wireless Communications in May 2016, which was subsequently incorporated into the LiLAC business.

LiLAC Group saw rebased revenues of $911 million, down 0.8% year-on-year, and rebased operating cash flow of $354 million, down 9.6%. Its operating income for the first quarter was up 130% to $138 million. It also saw a record number of new customers in the period to March 31 this year with 33,000, while organic revenue generating units were up 96.7% with 41,900 additions, driven by broadband.

The world’s largest international television and broadband provider, operating in more than 30 countries, Liberty Global has more than 25 million customers worldwide.

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