Liberty Global wears the bruises of COVID-19 in Q2 results

It could have certainly been worse, but it is impossible to avoid the lost revenues due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Across the group, which is looking smaller and smaller each quarter, revenues declined by 4.5% to just over $2.72 billion with Virgin Media accounting for the largest falls. While declines will make investors uncomfortable, a 4.5% year-on-year dip during an unforeseen disaster is not the worst news which could have broken.

“Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to effectively navigate through these unprecedented times,” said Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries.

“We understand the importance of seamless connectivity and strive to deliver the best possible products and services to our customers. Customer satisfaction, as measured by net promoter scores, has been at record highs across the majority of our footprint, which translated into our best net customer and broadband additions since Q3 2017.

“This result was led by a strong performance at Virgin Media, where we added 24,000 customers, our best Q2 result in four years.”

Liberty Global financial results for quarter ending June 30 (in millions, USD)
Country Total Revenue Year-on-year Adjusted EBITDA Year-on-year
UK/Ireland 1,531.8 -6.8% 654.9 -4.7%
Belgium 682.5 -4.3% 354.1 1.3%
Switzerland 299.1 -5.0% 150.9 -5.6%
Poland/Slovakia 116.2 -2.4% 52.7 -2.6%
Corporate 93.7 55.6% -24.1 -60.1%

Although there are some material losses to account for, the last few months have seen very little customer acquisition activity, while at the Virgin Media business, the crown jewels, a pause of live sport nullified one of its major USPs. Despite these complications, Virgin Media has grown its subscriber base year-on-year for both broadband and mobile.

In the UK, Virgin Media has passed 15,072,600 homes with full-fibre broadband while it has collected 5,318,400 subscribers, a net gain of 33,200 this quarter. For mobile, 47,700 subscribers were added to take the total to 3,268,100. 22.8% of the customer base are now converged, up from 19.9% in the same period of 2019.

The homes passed during this period take Virgin Media above its commitment to connect 15 million homes to fibre by the end of 2021, with Edinburgh and Liverpool completing the mission.

“We’re proudly leading the charge to make the UK faster by offering our gigabit connectivity to more homes than any other provider,” said CEO Lutz Schüler.

“We set out an ambitious target to roll-out gigabit speeds across our entire network of 15 million homes by the end of next year, and we’re on track to deliver that promise with Glasgow, Leeds and Bradford being the latest cities to have access to our blisteringly-fast Gig1 service reaching 1140 Mbps.”

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