Telenet racks up 609,000 digital TV homes

February 22, 2009 | 09:09 UK

Belgian operator Telenet ended 2008 with 609,000 digital TV homes; the total number of cable TV homes, both analogue and digital, has climbed to 2,402,000 thanks to the acquisition of the Interkabel networks television business.

Some other key figures of the year are: 985,000 broadband access customers, 629,000 fixed telephony homes and a further 87 mobile users. There are now 539,000 triple play customers. ARPU per customer relationship has grown 11% from €29.40 to €32.50.

The operator reported revenues of €1,018.8 million, up 9% versus prior year; an EBITDA of €505.6 million, up 14% versus prior year, yielding an EBITDA margin of 49.6%; an operating profit of €238.7 million, up 16%; Capital expenditures totalled €245.9 million, including €60.7 million rental set top boxes; Free Cash Flow of €123.7 million, equivalent to 12% of revenue; Proposed shareholder disbursement of €0.50 per share and the outlook for 2009 projects revenue and EBITDA growth rates in excess of 12%.

In a statement, Duco Sickinghe, Telenet’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We were able to extend our television footprint through the Interkabel Acquisition, resulting in a unified triple play cable offering across Flanders. Following the successful launch of our Telenet Digital TV product in the Interkabel areas, combined with an accelerated uptake in our footprint, we had a record net organic addition of 90,000 subscribers to digital TV during the fourth quarter. We also saw strong growth in all other residential products, despite the increasingly challenging economic and competitive environment.”

Telenet reported a total of 674,000 subscribers to their digital television services, including 609,000 subscribers to the Telenet Digital TV product and 65,000 subscribers to the INDI digital TV service that the company acquired as of October 1, 2008. On an organic basis, Telenet achieved 218,000 net subscriber additions to the digital TV product during the full year of 2008, of which 90,000 were acquired in the fourth quarter of 2008.
Telenet said that 28% watched digital TV through either a Telenet Digital TV or INDI set top box.

On the Telenet Network, more than one out of three, or 34%, now have Telenet Digital TV.The operator still has 17,000 subscribers to premium analogue PayTV service Prime on the former Interkabel networks. The company also said it realised 20 million VOD requests during 2008.