Storms to cost Eir €500k

December’s record wet weather resulted in Eir incurring storm costs of around €500,000, the company said yesterday.

The diversified telecoms company formerly Eircom, yesterday reported a strong set of second-quarter and half-year results for the period to the end of December.

Quarterly revenues rose 4%, year-on-year, to €328m, while earnings before tax, interest, depreciation and amortisation, were up 4% at €117m.

The three months represented the third consecutive quarterly period of revenue growth and fourth straight quarter of earnings growth.

For the half year, annualised revenue growth of 4% was seen, at €653m and earnings were up by 5% at €237m.

Speaking yesterday, Eir’s chief executive Richard Moat said management sees the group’s growth trends as being sustainable saying that it remains optimistic about the future of the business, having reiterated full-year revenue guidance (for the 12 months to the end of next June) of low-to-single digit percentage growth.

In terms of customer numbers, Eir increased its broadband subscriber base by 19,000 to 817,000 and passed the 500,000 customer milestone in post-pay mobile users, which comprises 46% of the group’s customer base.

Regarding the storm damage costs, the company said “these costs will increase in the third quarter, as much of the repair costs have been incurred in the new reporting period”.

Eir also said it expects its recent acquisition of Setanta Sports Ireland to gain regulatory approval by the middle of this year, which would be the end of the company’s financial year.

“Against the backdrop of a highly competitive market, the acquisition will deliver bottom line benefit in the future,” Mr Moat said.

He said with very strong cash reserves, of €186m, as of the end of December, Eir remains well-placed to take advantage of any further merger and acquisition opportunities, but said that management is not looking at any specific target.

In announcing the Setanta deal, before Christmas, Mr Moat said the deal would be a game-changer for Eir, but would not necessarily represent the final development in the group’s expansion moves.

Eir said it has passed the 1.4 million homes mark, with regard to provision of his high-speed broadband, and is on target to deliver on its promise of reaching 1.9 million premises by 2020.


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