Q4 revs, subs surge fails to stem yearly losses at Liberty Global | Major Businesses | Business
By continuing to use this site you consent to the use of cookies on your device as described in our privacy policy unless you have disabled them. You can change your cookie settings at any time but parts of our site will not function correctly without them. [Close]
Ending what the company’s CEO called a transformative year on somewhat of a high, comms and media provider Liberty Global has revealed a challenging 2020 offset by a strong fourth quarter and corporate activity that it says sets it up well for 2021.
Liberty 4KminiTV 24Aug2020
For the year ended 31 December 2020, Liberty Global reported revenue of $11.980 billion, an annual increase of 3.8% on a reported basis but down 1.5% on a rebased basis. Fourth quarter revenue increased 14.9% on a reported basis compared with fiscal 2019 and decreased 0.5% on a rebased basis to $3.426.9 billion. Despite the increase in revenues, full year losses loss from continuing operations increased 4.1% year-on-year to $1.467 billion though these were offset by Q4 losses from continuing operations decreasing 25.4% YoY to $1.007 billion. Full year adjusted EBITDA increased 0.7% on a reported basis and decreased 3.9% on a rebased basis to $4.896 billion, with fourth quarter adjusted EBITDA down 5.8% on a reported basis and decreased 6.2% on a rebased basis to $1.347.6 million.

2020 was an excellent year for Liberty Global in terms of organic customer additions with the full year seeing 81,200 subs added over the twelve month period, up 290.9% annually. This figure was boosted considerably by a fourth quarter that saw 55,900 net adds, up 319.2% compared with Q4 2019. This represented Liberty Global’s best quarter over quarter performance for consolidated operations in the past 5 years, primarily driven said the company by its convergence strategy. During 2020, Liberty Global added 242,000 broadband subscribers, and the fourth quarter saw both Virgin Media and UPC Switzerland achieve their best broadband adds since 2017.

Star performer for Liberty Global group in the year and fourth quarter was Virgin Media UK/Ireland which gained 42,000 customer relationships in Q4, as compared with a loss of 9,000 in Q4 2019. This was attributed to increased demand for what Liberty said were ‘superior’ broadband bundles, on both legacy and new build footprints.

Liberty ended the year with a total of 26.296 million customers across its six divisions, with 8.36 million total video customers and 7.609 million of these taking enhanced video services. Virgin Media in the UK boasted 3.498 million enhanced video customer alone. However, Virgin did see a negative churn of 27,500 enhanced video subscriber over the year.

Commenting on the yearly results, Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries said that as the company continued to navigate the pandemic, its fibre-rich networks had more than stood up to the challenge, delivering high-speed connectivity which has proven increasingly essential in the lives of our customers and communities with its convergence strategy continuing to gain traction across all of its core markets. “Demand for our broadband and converged products remains strong, “ he said. “We saw substantial churn reduction across all of our markets and achieved a record low at Virgin Media. Moreover, we continued to extend and upgrade our network reach with the construction of 561,000 new homes last year, and are now marketing 1GB broadband services to over 20 million premises across our pan-European footprint.”

Looking ahead to 2021, Liberty Global anticipated “modest” rebased revenue increases in its four largest markets of the UK, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Belgium as customer growth, price increases and B2B services continued the momentum experienced in 2020. The company warned that as it closed its proposed merger with O2 in the UK and accelerated the integration of Sunrise UPC in Switzerland, it would incur “substantial” costs to capture anticipated synergies which will weigh on  rebased Adjusted EBITDA and rebased OFCF performance.