Basking in the glow of its pending acquisition of Virgin Media and buoyed by rising triple play and the dawn of Horizon, Liberty Global has announced a glowing fiscal 2012.
For the quarter and year ended 31 December 2012, positive contribution of acquisitions, principally Kabel BW, as well as what was described as record organic revenue generating unit (RGU) growth, took the company to consolidated revenue of $2.7 billion and $10.3 billion, year-on-year growth rates of 14% and 8%, respectively.
Liberty said that its fourth quarter revenue growth reflected its strongest quarterly performance of 2012 and the fastest growth quarter in five years, driven by triple play and mobile subscriber growth.
Of particular note, its best performing operations were Germany and Belgium — the latter in which the company had over the year increased its stake in cableco Telenet — which delivered rebased revenue growth of 13% and 9%, respectively. This is turn led to strong performance in operating cash flow (OCF) and profits. The former increased 14% year-on-year to $1.3 billion and 9% to $4.9 billion for the three months and year.
OCF growth was 7% in the key western European operations, with particularly strong contributions from Irish, German and Dutch businesses, which grew at 11%, 10%, and 6%, respectively. UPC Cablecom in Switzerland improved rebased OCF growth to 5% in 2012, its strongest result in the last four years.
In terms of profits, reported operating income increased by 23% and 9% respectively to $501 million and $2.0 billion for the quarter and the year. The increase in each period was said to be due largely to higher revenue and lower operating expenses as measured as a percentage of revenue. These factors were partially offset by increases in depreciation.
Commenting on the results, Liberty Global President and CEO Mike Fries, said: “2012 was a great year for our company … These record results were driven by the success of our triple-play bundles, which leverage our superior broadband speeds and resulted in record annual broadband Internet and telephony subscriber additions.
"At the same time, we made significant progress on our product road map with the introduction in the Dutch market of Horizon TV … we have sold over 100,000 subscriptions [in five months] and have over 200,000 unique users enjoying our on-line and multiscreen services in the Netherlands. In January of 2013, we introduced Horizon TV in Switzerland and the response has been overwhelmingly positive.”