O2 Ireland doubles
capex to €145m

18 May 2005

Ireland’s second largest mobile operator O2 this morning reported a 13pc increase in annual turnover to €859m, up from €762m last year. Overall, the company grew its customer base by 10pc to €1.5m during the 2004/2005 financial year as well as almost doubling capital expenditure (capex) to €145m.

The company’s service revenues grew 13pc to €816m, up from €720m last year. Mobile data represented 21pc of service revenues, compared with 20pc last year.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) increased 9pc to €327m, compared with €300m last year. The full-year EBITDA margin was 38.1pc, down from 39.3pc last year.

Capital expenditure for the financial year 2004/2005 was €145m, up from €73m last year.

The number of SMS text messages sent during the financial year increased 13pc to 1.3 billion from 1.1 billion the previous year.

Drilling down into the fourth quarter of its financial year ended 31 March, the company said it added a total of 17,000 net new customers during the quarter of which 12,000 were prepay and 5,000 were postpaid customers.

Blended average revenue per user (ARPU) during the fourth quarter grew to €565 compared with €559 last year. Prepay ARPU was steady at €358 and postpay ARPU grew to €1,118 from €1,106. Data ARPU increased to €120 from €110 at the end of March.

Commenting on the growth of revenue in what she considers a “highly competitive market”, O2 Ireland CEO Danuta Gray said: “”In 2004/2005 we doubled our capital expenditure in Ireland and marked the year with a number of other major achievements. We announced a roaming agreement with Meteor, bringing even more competition to the market. We led the market in terms of innovative services such as data devices such as the BlackBerry. We held a strong market share despite fierce competition and the ease with which consumers can now change networks.

“We signed an agreement with NTT DoCoMo in Japan that will see the arrival of I-Mode exclusive to O2 Ireland later this year. We achieved double-digit growth in terms of winning customers in the business market driven by our solutions-driven approach to meeting the needs of businesses. We are very pleased with our performance and intend to build on this success going forward,” Gray said.

By John Kennedy