Unitymedia reports strong results

Unitymedia, Germany’s third largest cable operator, has reported strong financial results for 2008. Its cable revenues were up 15% to €857 million, while new services revenues rose by 55%. The number of new services subscriptions was meanwhile up by 66% on the previous year to 1.6 million.

In a statement, Parm Sandhu, CEO of Unitymedia, commented: “The high customer value of our Unity3play services has allowed us to continue to upsell to our large basic cable subscriber base and again deliver a strong set of financial results. Significant increases in our internet, telephony and digital TV pay RGUs were achieved consistently, quarter on quarter, in 2008 also reflecting the increasing strength of our consumer brand.

This new Services growth translated into a 15% increase in cable revenues and, with a strong ongoing cost discipline, a 19% cable EBITDA growth. Our operating performance has allowed us to use excess liquidity to repurchase €251 million of our own debt to further enhance our capital structure and improve profitability.”

He continued: “Looking ahead, the outlook for Unitymedia remains positive as we expect to continue to drive top-line growth through ongoing digitisation and increasing take up of Unity3play. We expect the cable segment to generate 2009 EBITDA of between €410-420 million and capital expenditures of approximately €240-250 million.”

Blended ARPU was up 16% to €12.77, with 61% uplift in new services ARPU contribution; the adjusted cable EBITDA was up 19% to €395 million, 46% margin; consolidated revenues of €1.2 billion, €436 million adjusted EBITDA, net profit of €86 million, including the Arena pay-TV platform.

The number of digital TV cable subscribers amounted to 27% of the total universe, and digital TV pay RGUs were up by 25%.

The number of total cable homes was slightly down, from 4,619,000 basic cable homes, compared with 4,762,000 at the end of 2007.

Th total number of basic digital cable TV homes, however, was 1,228,000, up 55.6% from the 789,000 posted the previous year.

The number of digital pay TV homes was meanwhile 568,000, up 24.6% from 456,000.

The total number of basic analogue subscribers was 3,391,000, down 14.6% from 3,973,000.

Network upgrades were well under way, with 83% of the network ready for Unity3play.

The total number of retail broadband connections was 377,000, and the telephony subscribers stood at 363,000.