Liberty Global (LBTYA) Earnings Top, Revenues Lag in Q4

Liberty Global Plc.LBTYA , a leading European quad-play cable MSO (multi service operator), reported mixed financial results in the fourth quarter of 2016. While the company reported profit in the reported quarter, revenues fell short of the Zacks Consensus Estimate.

GAAP net income in the fourth quarter was $2,235 million or $2.45 per share compared with a net loss of $284 million or a loss of 32 cents per share in the prior-year quarter.

Meanwhile, quarterly total revenue of $4,216.6 million was down 1.7% year over year missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $4,256 million.

Total segment operating cash flow in the reported quarter was $2,035.5 million, down 1.5% year over year. Quarterly operating cash flow margin was 48.3%, almost in line with the year-ago quarter figure of 48.2%.

In the fourth quarter of 2016, Liberty Global generated $1,653 million of cash from operations compared with $1,441.6 million in the year-ago quarter. Adjusted free cash flow, in the reported quarter, was $1009.1 million compared with $779 million in the prior-year quarter.

At the end of 2016, Liberty Global had $3,400 million of cash and cash equivalents and $37,800 million of outstanding debt on its balance sheet compared with $982.1 million and $44,211.2 million, respectively, at the end of 2015.

Segment-wise Results

Within the European operations, revenues from Western Europe totaled $3,939.4 million, down 2.0% year over year. Revenues from Central and Eastern Europe came in at $273.8 million, up 3.3% year over year. Corporate and other revenues totaled $18.9 million, up 125% year over year.

Subscriber Statistics

As of Dec 31, 2016, Liberty Global had 21.8353 million subscribers, which constituted 44.7813 million RGUs (revenue generating units). Of the total, 18.4838 million were video RGUs, 14.3346 million were broadband Internet RGUs and the remaining 11.9629 million were telephony RGUs. Moreover, the company had 6.5638 million mobile subscribers with a quarterly loss of 238,500 customers.

Total Single-Play customer count was 8.4173 million, down 13.9% year over year. Total Double-Play subscriber base totaled 3.8899 million, down 9.9% year over year. Triple-Play customer base exceeded 9.5281 million, down 18.7% year over year.

During the reported quarter, Liberty Global added a total of 323,700 RGUs, including net gains of 230,600 and 117,500 subscribers for broadband Internet and telephony services, respectively. However, the company lost 24,400 video customers. In the reported quarter, Liberty Global added a net of 313,000 customers for its flagship Horizon TV-platform, Yelo TV platform and TiVo Inc. TIVO developed TV-platform.

Liberty Global PLC Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Liberty Global PLC Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise | Liberty Global PLC Quote


In 2017, Liberty Global expects growth in rebased operating cash flow in to improve to 6-7% from 4% last year and accelerate to 7-8% in 2018 and the years beyond. Adjusted free cash flow is forecast at $1.5 billion this year, down from $1.99 billion last year.

Latest Development

The long-awaited proposed joint venture (JV) between the units of Liberty Global and Vodafone Group Plc. VOD to merge their Dutch operations finally materialized on Dec 31, 2016. The JV is valued at €3.5 billion (US$ 3.68 billion). We are impressed with the merger and acquisition plans of Liberty Global. Apart from the JV with Vodafone, the launch of DOCSIS 3.1 network services, the acquisition of UTV Ireland TV stations from ITV, the long-term agreement with Netfix Inc. NFLX and the takeover of Cable & Wireless are expected to drive growth in future. Liberty Global currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here .

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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