UPC earnings rise 8.5% despite drop in customers

Earnings at the main Irish arm of cable TV provider UPC last year increased by 8.5% to €129m in spite of a slight drop in customer numbers.

Figures lodged by UPC Communications Ireland Ltd show that the firm enjoyed the increase in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation as revenues went up by 5% from €330m to €347m in the 12 months to the end of December 2013.

The accounts show that the number of UPC customers last year declined by more than 7,000, going down from 535,583 to 528,403.

Combined non-cash depreciation and amortisation costs of €97m resulted in the firm recording a pre-tax loss of €32.7m — down sharply on the pre-tax loss of €57m in 2012.

According to the directors’ report, “results for the year were in line with management expectations”.

The directors state that they “are satisfied with the performance of the company for the year of trading”.

The directors state that the firm is investing its capital in the expansion and upgrade of its network to enable development and provision of advanced services to its customers.

The figures show that the firm last year incurred capital expenditure of €53.54m following a capital spend of €56.7m in 2012.

The revenue breakdown at the Irish arm of US cable giant Liberty Global shows that residential revenues make up 94%, with business revenues making up the remaining 6%.

Operating profits at the firm increased more than threefold last year, from €10.45m to €33.1m.

However, interest payable of €65.5m resulted in the pre-tax loss of €32.77m.

The figures show that revenues from analogue, digital, and broadband services last year increased from €278.55m to €292.2m, with revenues from telephony — residential and business — increasing from €51.9m to €55.5m.

Numbers employed by UPC last year reduced from 777 to 775, with 347 in marketing and customer service; 327 in technical operations; and 101 in administration.

The figures show that staff costs last year reduced from €52.5m to €50.5m with the chief factor behind the drop in severance costs of €1.99m in 2012 not recurring last year.


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