Meteor storms ahead in Eircom results

28 Feb 2008

A strong performance from Eircom’s mobile division Meteor, which saw 54,000 new subscribers sign up in the past quarter, helped the company bring home revenues of €520m for the second quarter, up 6pc on last year.

For the half year ended 31 December, Eircom reported a 5pc increase in revenues to €1bn, with earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) reaching €346m, up 7pc on the same period last year.

Eircom revealed that in the half year, DSL broadband subscribers amounted to 534,000 at the end of December, up from 360,000 a year earlier. Of these, retail DSL subscribers stood at 381,000.

By 14 February, Eircom estimates DSL customers reached 561,000, including 6,000 pending subscribers.

The company says broadband penetration in Ireland currently stands at 21.2pc, up from 18.4pc in November.

However, the real ace in the pack in terms of Eircom’s Q2 performance is its Meteor mobile division, which reported revenues of €238m, up 30pc year on year. Total mobile subscribers now stand at 962,000, out of which 116,000 pay by monthly bill.

During the second half of 2007, Eircom had a capital expenditure outflow of €157m, which it says went mainly into rolling out broadband and next-generation networks, as well as a 3G network.

Eircom continues to generate a lot of cash, with an estimated €342m in the bank at the end of December, compared with €160m a year earlier.

Eircom CEO said the €157m capital expenditure underpins the company’s ability to retain fixed-line customers and grow broadband subscriber numbers.

He said: “44,000 additional DSL broadband customers joined Eircom this quarter, a substantial 26pc increase on the previous quarter. The increase in broadband customers is reflected across both retail and wholesale. Retail added 33,000 DSL subscribers in the quarter, bringing its total base to 381,000.

“In February 2008, we announced a significant programme of broadband speed upgrades at no extra cost. Many of our customers, retail and wholesale, will be enjoying faster broadband, up to 12Mbps, over the coming months.

“Finally, the group remains committed to reducing its cost base. Progress continues regarding pay costs, with our voluntary leaver programme on track to achieve a total reduction in headcount of 900 by 2010,” Comb concluded.

By John Kennedy