Liberty Global’s ( LBTYA Quick Quote LBTYA - Free Report) first-quarter 2021 net income was $1.44 billion, up 41.5% year over year. Revenues increased 25.7% year over year to $3.62 billion. However, on a rebased basis, revenues inched up 0.2% year over year. Liberty Global gained 38,000 customer relationships in the reported quarter against a loss of 18,900 in the year-ago quarter. Fixed-mobile convergence penetration increased to 29% in the first quarter, up from 23% in the year-ago quarter.
Markedly, Liberty Global’s U.K. joint venture with Telefonica's O2 is set to close in June, subject to final approval by the regulators.
Average revenue per unit (“ARPU”) per cable customer relationship increased 6% to $63.16. On a rebased basis, the figure declined 5.4%.
Mobile ARPU (including interconnect revenues), on a reported basis, increased 36.7% to $22.89. On a rebased basis, the figure decreased 4.5%. Further, mobile ARPU (excluding interconnect revenues), on a reported basis, surged 44.6% to $19.87. On a rebased basis, the figure was down 4.8%. In the United Kingdom/Ireland, Virgin Media gained 31,000 customer relationships against a loss of 1,000 in the year-ago quarter. The company benefited from strong demand for broadband bundles. Liberty added 24,000 customers in its Lightning footprint and 7,000 in BAU footprint. The U.K./Ireland revenues, on a reported basis, climbed 9.3% year over year to $1.77 billion. On a rebased basis, the same increased 1.4% year over year. In Belgium, Telenet lost 4,500 customer relationships compared with loss of 7,500 in the year-ago quarter. Belgium revenues, on a reported basis, increased 7.6% year over year to $772.7 million. On a rebased basis, revenues fell 1.3%. In Switzerland, Liberty Global gained 4,400 customer relationships compared with the loss of 16,400 in the year-ago quarter. Sunrise added 4,000 customers in the period. Switzerland revenues, on a reported basis, surged 165.7% year over year to $841.8 million. On a rebased basis, revenues decreased 0.3%. Continuing CEE (Poland and Slovakia) gained 7,100 customer relationships compared with 6,100 in the year-ago quarter, driven by growth in new build areas. Continuing CEE revenues, on a reported basis, increased 8% to $128.6 million. On a rebased basis, the top line increased 3.2%. Revenues from the Dutch joint venture increased 1.8% year over year on a rebased basis. Liberty Global built 113,000 new premises in the reported quarter including 80,000 in the U.K. & Ireland. Operating Details
Adjusted EBITDA increased 18.9% year over year to $1.37 billion in the first quarter. On a rebased basis, EBITDA decreased 1.7%.
U.K./Ireland EBITDA, on a rebased basis, decreased 1.9% year over year. Switzerland EBITDA, on a rebased basis, was down 7.3% from the year-ago quarter. Belgium EBITDA, on a rebased basis, increased 3.2% year over year. Moreover, CEE EBITDA, on a rebased basis, increased 0.3% year over year. Operating income was $625.3 million in the reported quarter compared with $280.6 million in the year-ago quarter. Balance Sheet & Cash Flow
As of Mar 31, 2021, Liberty Global had $5.8 billion of cash, investments under SMAs and unused borrowing capacity.
Total principal amount of debt and finance leases were $30.9 billion for continuing operations. Moreover, the average debt tenor is seven years, with approximately 82% not due until 2027 or thereafter. As of Mar 31, 2021, Liberty Global’s adjusted gross and net leverage ratios were 5.6X and 5.1X, respectively. Cash provided by operating activities was $821.2million, up 82.6% year over year. Moreover, adjusted free cash flow was $93.1 million in the first quarter against free cash outflow of $317 million in the year-ago quarter. The company bought back $447million of shares through the end of April. Guidance
For 2021, Liberty Global expects adjusted free cash flow of $1.35 billion.
Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider
Liberty Global currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
Playtika ( PLTK Quick Quote PLTK - Free Report) , TEGNA ( TGNA Quick Quote TGNA - Free Report) and Sonos ( SONO Quick Quote SONO - Free Report) are some better-ranked stocks in the broader consumer & discretionary sector. All the three stocks carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. TEGNA, Playtika and Sonos are set to report quarterly results on May 10, 11 and 12, respectively. Zacks Top 10 Stocks for 2021
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