Weakness in Virgin Media is hurting Liberty Global, which lost 29,000 RGUs in the second quarter, as compared to a gain of 41,000 RGUs in the prior-year period. This was despite improved performances in the remaining CEE operations, as well as Switzerland and Telenet.
During Q2, 2019, Liberty Global lost 54,900 video customers, but added 9,600 data customers and 16,500 voice customers. In the UK, Virgin Media added 17,000 telephony and 5,000 broadband subscriptions in Q2, but lost 27,000 video customers.
In the UK and Ireland Q2 RGU losses were 5,000 as the company maintained a disciplined and balanced approach to customer acquisition and capital expenditure during a seasonally soft quarter in which market growth in broadband and video continued to slow.
In Belgium, RGU attrition of 20,000 in Q2 represented a sequential and year-over-year improvement as losses in the SFR footprint moderated.
In Switzerland, UPC lost 28,000 RGUs in Q2 compared to a loss of 54,000 in Q2 2018, with improved performance in all products driven by an enhanced value proposition.
Continuing CEE (Poland and Slovakia): Gained 24,000 RGUs in Q2 as compared to 4,000 additions in the prior-year period, mainly driven by improved sales and churn reduction in Poland.
CEO Mike Fries stated: “Earlier this year we laid out our strategic and operating priorities for 2019, and I’m pleased to report that we are making substantial progress across the board. In July, we completed the sale of our operations in Germany, Hungary, Romania and the Czech Republic to Vodafone for $21.3 billion, and our transaction tosell our Swiss business for $6.3 billion remains on track for the end of this year. With the net proceeds from these deals, all valued at double-digit OCF multiples, our pro forma cash balance will be over $14 billion.
“We are also focused on enhancing the strategic and financial value of our core operating businesses, particularly Virgin Media which remains the most advanced broadband and fixed/mobile provider in the UK with substantial opportunities for expansion and growth. With 500 Mbps already available to nearly 15 million homes and 1 Gbps speeds just around the corner, Virgin Media is miles ahead of other UK operators in providing ultrafast broadband, both today and into the future.”