EIR SECOND QUARTER & HALF YEAR FY19
Dublin, 27 February 2019
Results in line with expectations, with continued growth in fibre broadband, postpay mobile, TV, sport & product bundling
eir today announced results for the second quarter and half year ended 31 December 2018 which were in line with expectations. Second quarter revenue remained stable year on year, while EBITDA increased by €19 million or 15% year on year and operating costs reduced by €19 million or 15%. The company saw further solid growth in its key performance indicators, with more customers connecting to eir’s fibre broadband, bundling products, and consuming more TV content and mobile data than ever before.
Financial Highlights – Q2
- EBITDA of €141m, up 15% or €19m year on year
- Revenue of €322m, stable year on year
- Operating costs of €105m, down 15% or €19m year on year
- Cash on balance sheet of €222m, up 64% or €87m year on year
Financial Highlights – H1
- EBITDA of €279m, up 13% or €32m year on year
- Revenue of €634m, down 1% or €4m year on year
- Operating costs of €213m, down 13% or €32m year on year
Business Updates – Q2
Launch of €150m mobile network investment, upgrading 1,000 masts across the country to enhance 4G coverage to cover 99% of Ireland and increase data speeds
Customer care insourcing programme almost complete, with hundreds of customer care staff brought back in-house, to provide improved customer service
1.86 million premises passed with high-speed fibre technology
- 246,000 premises passed as part of FTTH rural rollout
- 79% of premises now passed with fibre technology
670,000 fibre broadband connections, 72% of total broadband base
31% of customers now on triple or quad-play bundles
Carolan Lennon, eir Chief Executive Officer, commented:
“The first six months of our financial year saw continued progress on our transformational journey to becoming a more agile organisation, focused on continued investment in infrastructure in Ireland, improved customer experience and service, and building the best broadband and mobile networks in the country.
“eir has invested more in telecoms infrastructure in Ireland than any other telecoms company, and eir has consistently spent more on its infrastructure than any other national operator in Europe, investing €1.5bn in telecoms infrastructure across Ireland in the last five years. We are proud that this significant investment to date has helped bring high-speed broadband to more than 90% of the Irish population according to the European Commission, putting Ireland in the top 25% of EU countries for rural high-speed broadband coverage. Our €1 billion capital investment programme over the next five years will deliver the very best fixed and mobile experience for all our customers across the country.”
Investment in our network
“eir is planning substantial investment programmes in the coming years for both broadband and mobile. This month we launched our fixed network investment programme, which will cost more than half a billion euro over five years and pass an additional 1.4 million premises with an FTTH connection capable of speeds up to 10 Gbps. “Ireland’s Fibre Network”, the next step in the evolution of eir’s network and the expansion of the telecoms infrastructure in Ireland, will pass 180 towns and cities across the country. That’s every town with more than 1,000 premises.
“The investment will follow the completion in June this year of eir’s FTTH rollout to 335,000 rural premises, at a cost of €250 million to eir and with no public subsidy. We have passed 246,000 rural homes and businesses with super-fast FTTH broadband, and by June we will have invested more than €600 million in fibre broadband, delivering high-speed fibre broadband to more than 80% of Irish premises, or 1.9 million homes and businesses across the country.
“Our €150 million investment in our mobile network is already underway, allowing eir to deliver 4G voice and data coverage across more than 99% of Ireland within two years, on the most expansive 4G mobile network in the world. The investment will also see the rollout of 5G services later in the year, delivering the most technologically advanced mobile data services in Ireland’s cities.”
“One of my key priorities as CEO is tackling our reputation for poor customer service. Four months ago, we announced that we would bring this back in-house, as we believe that having customer-facing roles filled by direct eir staff leads to a better experience for our customers. We are nearing completion of this process, which includes recruiting 750 customer care roles within our new regional hubs in Cork, Limerick, and Sligo. During this time of change, customers have experienced longer wait times than usual or acceptable, and we are doing everything we can to minimise the disruption including significantly expanding our Web Chat services and working hard to reduce our wait times to the level which eir customers expect.
“Since October we have hired and trained over 300 new front-line staff across our three new care hubs and 220 staff have transferred to eir. Every week more than 40 new care agents complete training and begin taking calls, with performance improving every day. We firmly believe that these changes will result in a better experience for eir’s customers in the long term.”
National Broadband Plan
“eir withdrew from the NBP tender process in early 2018, but remains committed to supporting the remaining bidder in making eir’s infrastructure ready and available for the delivery of the NBP. We are allocating significant resources in order to provide this support and will continue to do so, to help realise the shared ambition of high speed broadband for all homes and businesses as soon as possible.”
“As eir CEO, I look forward to delivering on our exciting plans for investment and growth. Our significant network investments, our innovative products and services, and our insourcing of customer service will ensure we offer the very best fixed and mobile experience for all our customers across Ireland.”
Solid broadband growth
- 936,000 broadband customers, up 25,000 or 3% year on year
Continued growth in TV & sport
- 80,000 eir Vision customers, up 6,000 or 8% year on year
- 297,000 eir Sport users across all platforms, up 58,000 or 24% year on year
More mobile customers opting for bundles
- 1,045,000 total mobile customers
- 53% of mobile customers on postpay, up 4 p.p. year on year
- 26% of households include mobile in a bundle, up 3 p.p. year on year
Household Revenue Generating Units (RGUs) growing
- 38 RGUs per household, up from 2.25 RGUs this time last year
Stephen Tighe, eir Chief Financial Officer, commented:
“eir has seen strong financial and operational performance in the second quarter of financial year 2019, with EBITDA growth and operating cost efficiencies building further momentum after solid results in the first quarter.
“Revenue was stable year on year in the quarter as strong postpay mobile revenue offset a decline in fixed revenue, driven by promotions to drive subscriber and market share growth. On a year to date basis, revenue declined by 1% or €4 million. Headcount reductions, insourcing of customer service, and a continued focus on the simplification of non-pay activities have enabled a 15% improvement year on year in both operating costs and EBITDA for the second quarter. On a year to date basis, we have seen a 13% improvement year on year in both operating costs and EBITDA.
“Our operational KPIs continued their robust year on year growth in the second quarter, with the Group broadband base growing by 3% or 25,000, the postpay mobile base increasing by 7% or 36,000, and multi-play bundling expanding from 72% to 77% of total fixed households.
“In terms of capital expenditure, we have seen further expansion of growth capex, to €40 million in the second quarter, as we commence our €150 million mobile network investment. This will further expand in the near future as we prepare to build out our FTTH network to an additional 1.4 million premises across urban and suburban Ireland.”
Second quarter reported revenue of €322 million remained stable year on year. On a year to date basis, revenue of €634 million reduced by 1% or €4m year on year. Growth in voice traffic, postpay mobile, and TV was offset by a reduction in access, managed and operator services, and eir UK revenue, as well as the impact from new competitively priced propositions and promotions to support retail growth and increase market share.
Second quarter operating costs of €105 million reduced by 15% or €19 million year on year. On a year to date basis, operating costs of €213 million reduced by 13% or €32m year on year.
Second quarter EBITDA of €141 million increased by 15% or €19 million year on year. On a year to date basis, EBITDA of €279 million increased by 13% or €32 million year on year, driven by the strong savings in operating costs.
The Group broadband base totalled 936,000 customers at 31 December 2018, growing by 25,000 or 3% year on year, driven by strong subscriber growth in the consumer division. 670,000 customers were using our fibre-based high-speed broadband services at the end of December 2018, representing an increase of 75,000 customers or 13% compared to the corresponding prior year period. 72% of our broadband customers are now connected to our fibre network, which represents a 36% penetration of fibre premises passed.
The Group mobile base stood at 1,045,000 customers at 31 December 2018, decreasing by 1% or 11,000 compared to the corresponding prior year period. The postpay subscriber base increased by 36,000 customers or 7% year on year. Postpay customers now represent 53% of the total mobile base, an increase of 4 percentage points in the second quarter compared to the corresponding prior year period.
In summary, the Group has delivered another set of solid financial and operational results for the second quarter and half year to 31 December 2018, which are in line with expectations.
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