Improved numbers at Eircom

15 May 2006

As talks continue over a possible takeover by the Australian investment firm Babcock & Brown, Eircom has reported annual results with improved revenue and profit numbers.

The country’s largest telecoms firm recorded revenue of €1.69bn and pre-tax profits of €112m for the year ended 31 March. The revenue figures were up by 6pc from €1.59bn the same period last year

The company also improved operating profit margin by a percentage point compared with last year. Eircom’s capital expenditure for the 12 months amounted to €233m, which the company said had been spent on the acquisition of Meteor and ongoing rollout of DSL. In the final quarter of the year, Meteor contributed €4m in earnings, said Eircom chairman Dr Philip Nolan.

As of last week the company had a quarter of a million DSL subscribers, up 20,000 from 31 March. The latest figures available (also to 31 March) show that Meteor, the country’s third largest mobile operator, had amassed 625,000 customers, up 66pc on last year. Nolan said that a significant amount was being spent on enhancing the Meteor network. Average revenue per user was €35.52.

Eircom had fewer retail minutes for the financial year than for the previous 12-month period, down to 10,524 million from 11,603. Some of the major voice traffic indicators also showed a drop, with local, national, fixed-to-mobile and international all bringing in less revenue than in 2005.

A due diligence process is underway ahead of the proposed takeover by Babcock & Brown and discussions with the group as well as the employee share ownership trust are still taking place, Eircom said.

By Gordon Smith