Liberty Global plc. declared disappointing financial results for the fourth quarter of 2013 as both the top and the bottom line significantly lagged the respective Zacks Consensus Estimate. In the reported quarter, the company added 413,000 organic revenue generating units (RGU), down 11.2% year over year.
Quarterly GAAP net loss was $121 million or 31 cents per share compared with a net loss of $331 million or $1.27 per share in the prior-year quarter. However, adjusted earnings per share of 7 cents were substantially below the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 38 cents.
Quarterly total revenue of $4,468 million was up 70.5% year over year, but fell below the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $4,658 million.
Cost of operations was $1,723 million, up 92.6% year over year. Operating income came in at $517.6 million, up 0.8% year over year. Operating margin was 11.6% compared with 19.6% in the year-ago quarter.
During 2013, Liberty Global generated $3,931.3 million of cash from operations compared with $2,919.7 million in 2012. Free cash flow in 2013 was $1,449.8 million against $1,051.4 million in 2012.
At the end of 2013, Liberty Global had $6,193.1 million of cash and marketable securities and $43,681 million of outstanding debt on its balance sheet compared with $2,989 million and $27,524.5 million, respectively, at the end of 2012.
As of Dec 31, 2013, Liberty Global had a total of approximately 24.5 million subscribers, which constitute 48.3 million RGUs. Of the total RGUs, 21.8 million was video RGU, 14.4 million was broadband Internet RGU and the remaining 12.1 million was telephony RGU.
The total Single-Play customer count stood at 10.6 million, down 1.2% year over year. The total Double-Play and Triple-Play customer base constitutes around 57% of the company’s total customer base.
During the reported quarter, Liberty Global added 413,000 organic RGUs including net gains of 270,000 and 192,000 subscribers for broadband Internet and telephony services, respectively, and a net loss of 50,000 video subscribers. At Dec 31, 2013, the company had 13.2 million digital video subscribers.
At the end of 2013, the company had over 500,000 Horizon TV subscribers in the Netherlands, Switzerland, Ireland and Germany. Liberty Global had approximately 2 million TiVo Inc. -platform based video subscribers with a quarterly net addition of 200,000 subscribers. Moreover, the company had 4.1 million mobile subscribers.
Total revenue from the European Operations division was $4,138.4 million, up 79.6% year over year. Within this segment, revenues from Western Europe were $3,811.9 million, up 91.7% year over year. Revenues from Central and Eastern Europe came in at $292.8 million, up 6.9% year over year. Revenues from Central and other operation were $33.7 million, up 12.7% year over year. VTR Chile revenues were $243.7 million, down 1.9% year over year. Corporate and other revenues totaled $93.4 million, up 25.2% year over year.
Other Stocks to Consider
Liberty Global currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Other stocks in the cable TV industry which are doing well include Time Warner Cable Inc. and BT Group plc. . Both these stocks currently have a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).