Belgacom TV reaches over 1.2 million homes
By Robert Briel
March 2, 2012 08.08 Europe/London

The number of Belgacom TV customers increased by 72,000 in Q4 2011 to a total of 1,211,000, representing an increase of 236,000 on an annual basis.

Presenting its full 2011 results, Belgacom said that its multi-play stategy is paying off: with a growth of 66,000 customers in the fourth quarter, 1,089,000 customers have opted for the ‘Packs’ (an increase of 219,000 on a yearly basis).

The operator also increased the number of broadband customers. 18,000 additional fixed internet customers, or a total of 1,590,000 (an increase of 32,000 on an annual basis).

Last year, Belgacom TV lost some of the live TV rights to the Belgian Jupiler football league to cablers Telenet and VOO. Didier Bellens, Belgacom’s CEO, in a statement: “In 2011 we had to make some strategic choices, for which we maintained our discipline and opted not to take the easy road but to hold on to our end goal, value creation. As such we were vigilant not to overpay for broadcasting rights of Belgian football. This now proves to have been the right choice since football-related churn is back to previous levels, when we had all the rights.”

In 2011, the Belgacom Group achieved a total revenue of €6,406 million, as expected 3% lower than in 2010.

Revenues for the fourth quarter amount to €1,616 million, or 2.6% less than for the same period in 2010.

The EBITDA of the Belgacom Group (excluding non-recurring revenue) for the fourth quarter of 2011 amounts to €446 million. Compared to a strong fourth quarter of 2010, this means a 9.9% decline.

In addition to a regulation impact, the year-over-year EBITDA comparison was complicated by provisions, currency effects, divestments and targeted commercial investments, which had a cumulated negative impact of -€22 million or -4.4%. The 2011 full-year EBITDA amounted to €1,912 million, 3.7% lower than in 2010, in line with the full-year guidance.

In the last quarter 2011, Belgacom invested €279 million, including €20 million for the 4G licence. Total investments in 2011 amounted to €777 million, or 12.1% of the Group’s income.

With a net debt of €1,479 million (or 0.8 times the EBITDA), Belgacom said its financial position is very sound, one of the soundest in the Belgian and European telecom sector.