Liberty Global’s acquisition of Multimedia Polska followed on from what was a solid third quarter for the company in Central and Eastern Europe.
Its latest results show that the Horizon-Lite product, which provides a Horizon-like user interface on legacy set-top boxes, gained 53,000 customers in three markets – Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic – in the three months to September 30. More generally, CEE contributed an additional 98,000 RGUs in the third quarter.
Looking deeper into the subscriber figures, we see that the total RGU growth in Q3 was highest in Romania (43,800), with the lowest (3,700) being in Slovakia. Meanwhile, the biggest enhanced video subscriber growth (14,600) was in Hungary, with two markets – Czech Republic and Slovakia – having respective falls of 200 and 600.
All five countries in CEE served by Liberty gained internet subscribers in Q3, with the best performers being Hungary (12,300) and Romania (12,600). However, one (Czech Republic) lost telephony customers (-2,100), in a segment where Romania (+16,800) was the star performer.
The Czech Republic also saw the number of DTH subscribers fall by 1,700 in Q3.
Although Liberty only offer mobile telephony in two of the region’s markets, they experienced contrasting fortunes in the third quarter. In Hungary, the subscriber total increased by 9,300, while in Poland it fell by 400.
Although CEE still accounts for only a fraction of the revenues for Western Europe – around 42% of those in Germany, for instance, and only 17% of the combined UK/Ireland operation – the $274.5 million posted for Q3 was 3.1% up on the same period last year.
Its important to note that UPC’s operations in the Czech Republic and Slovakia continue to be integrated. UPC says that the combined operation had sold 1,483,000 digital services at the end of Q3, or around 40,900 more than a year earlier. Its services in the two countries were available to 1,947,500 homes, or 96,500 more than a year earlier.
Growth, both in terms of infrastructure expansion and acquisitions, is set to continue for Liberty’s operations in CEE for the foreseeable future. While we are unlikely to see many more deals on the scale of Multimedia Polska anytime soon, interesting times certainly lie ahead.