Eir fibre passes 75pc of Irish premises, says new CEO Carolan Lennon

11 May 2018

The new CEO of Eir, Carolan Lennon. Image: Connor McKenna

Eir to focus on being a leaner and more agile organisation, says new CEO.

In its Q3 financial results, Eir reported that revenues were down 1pc year on year to €317m for the quarter.

The national operator indicated that earnings before interest, depreciation, tax and amortisation (EBIDTA) of €137m were up by €6m, or 4pc on the year.

‘We have completed over half of our 300,000 rural fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) programme, and our overall fibre roll-out has now passed 1.8m or 75pc of all Irish homes and businesses’

Future Human

The operator said that 75pc of premises in Ireland are now passed by fibre technology, including 200,000 FTTH premises.

The company revealed that broadband and bundling take-up continues to grow, with 620,000 fibre connections – 67pc of Eir’s total broadband base – and 28pc of customers now on triple- or quad-play bundles comprising broadband, telephone, TV and mobile services.

The new CEO of Eir, Carolan Lennon, said that the acquisition of a majority stake in the company by French telecoms billionaire Xavier Niel’s NJJ – which gave Eir an enterprise value of around €3.5bn – is now complete.

“I am proud to lead Eir through the next chapter of its transformation journey,” Lennon said.

“Our focus is on driving growth through investment in both our broadband and mobile networks while creating a leaner, more agile organisation to enable us to respond better to the needs of our customers.”

She continued: “We have completed over half of our 300,000 rural fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) programme, and our overall fibre roll-out has now passed 1.8m or 75pc of all Irish homes and businesses.

“Our mobile network currently delivers 4G coverage to 96pc of the population, and our converged networks provide a great platform from which we can build the best fixed and mobile network in Ireland, enabling us to offer the highest-quality service to our customers.”

Lennon said that Eir’s ambitions as a TV platform player were bolstered by Eir Sport securing the Guinness Pro14 broadcast rights in the Republic of Ireland.

Bonus of bundles

Eir appears to be doubling down on its mix of services and its ability to create bundles for consumers, something very much in line with the thinking of Niel’s NJJ and his telecoms giant, Iliad. Iliad is the parent company of Free, a telecoms operator in France that has 13.4m mobile and 6.5m broadband subscribers.

In total, Eir’s network currently supports 919,000 broadband connections, an increase of 29,000 (3pc) on last year.

The company said that its TV platform, Eir Vision, has 75,000 paying customers, an increase of 8,000 on last year.

From a mobile perspective, it has 1m mobile customers, 51pc of whom are on post-pay contracts.

Eir’s new CFO, Stephen Tighe, said that the 4pc increase in EBITDA was driven by better cost efficiencies throughout the business.

Last month, it emerged that Eir was looking to reduce its workforce of about 3,220 employees by cutting 750 jobs as part of a restructuring plan.

“While revenue for the quarter was down by 1pc year on year, the gross margin was up by a percentage point compared to the prior year.

“We saw good growth in terms of KPIs (key performance indicators), broadband customers were up by 3pc compared to the prior year and 67pc of broadband customers are now on fibre.

“Our mobile post-pay handset base grew by over 30,000 or 7pc year on year, and the overall mix of customers continues to improve,” Tighe said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years