Telenet more than doubles mobile customers in first-quarter

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 25, 2013 11:49 AM
Telenet more than doubles mobile customers in first-quarter

MECHELEN, Belgium (Reuters) - Belgian cable operator Telenet's <TNET.BR> increased revenue by 11 percent in the first quarter as it more than doubled its mobile phone subscribers from a year earlier, it said on Thursday.

The group, which offers cable TV, Internet and telephony to customers in the Dutch-speaking north of Belgium, made 405.6 million euros ($527.1 million) in revenues in the first quarter.

That was broadly in line with 407 million euros expected on average by six banks and brokerages polled by Reuters.

Telenet said it had 625,000 mobile customers at the end of March, up from 257,800 a year earlier.

However, the number of new mobile phone customers slowed profit growth as Telenet had to spend money subsidizing new handsets for new customers.

Core profit rose 3 percent to 195.6 million euros, missing 203 million euros expected in the poll.

"Mobile and business-to-business services are really a driver for our growth in the foreseeable future," said Chief Executive John Porter, the former head of Australian pay-TV firm Austar United Communications who took over at the company at the start of the month.

Telenet, in which U.S. cable group Liberty Global <LBTYA.O> has a 58.3 percent stake, confirmed the outlook it had given in February.

At that time it said it expected revenue to rise by 10-11 percent this year, supported by its growing share of mobile phone customers and a further increase in the number of customers buying more than one of its services.

Capital expenditure rose to 95.8 million euros from 78.6 million euros a year earlier, a higher figure after Telenet extended its premier league soccer broadcasting rights.

The Belgian company is also distributing 950 million euros to shareholders this year, a sharp increase on a year earlier, and helping drive Telenet shares up 17 percent in the year to date. ($1 = 0.7695 euros)

(Reporting by Ben Deighton)