Cable and Wireless Communications Group report:
Revenue was in line with the prior year at US$1,431 million. Across the Group, mobile revenues increased by 9%, boosted by growth in mobile data services. Macau, our most developed mobile data business, posted a 20% rise in total revenue, driven by mobile services and smartphone sales.
Group EBITDA was similar to the prior year at US$445 million following an improved performance in the Caribbean and continued strength in Macau. The Caribbean performance was driven by mobile customer growth in Jamaica, further operating performance gains in The Bahamas and a region-wide cost reduction programme.
Adjusting for currency, revenue for the Group was 1% higher and EBITDA 2% higher than last year. Total operating profit increased by 19% to US$256 million. There was an exceptional charge of US$26 million related to the Caribbean restructuring programme we commenced at the start of the year and where we have made good progress in the first half.
Net profit for the period was up 11% to US$120 million and adjusted earnings per share were US3.4 cents. The Board has declared an interim dividend of US1.33 cents per share, in line with our intentions outlined at the full year results in May.
The Group made good progress in its strategic growth businesses, particularly mobile data. Non-voice revenue rose by 36% and now accounts for 26% of Group mobile service revenue. Our Panama business saw a 63% increase in mobile data revenue during the first half as smartphone penetration rose to 26%. Macau, the Caribbean and Monaco also delivered strong mobile data revenue growth. We expect further growth from this segment across the portfolio.
We continued to roll out triple-play services, with pay TV as a key component, launching a service in Barbados during the period, and in the Channel Islands and Isle of Man in October.
Commenting on the Group results, Tony Rice, Chief Executive of Cable & Wireless Communications Plc, said “We have delivered a respectable performance in the first half. Despite a challenging period for the telecoms industry as a whole, our Group has posted a balanced performance, with EBITDA rising 2%.
We have seen momentum continuing to build for our mobile data services, and this is driving our mobile service revenue. Significant investments in high speed, mobile data capable networks across the Group last year are already delivering returns, and we expect the growth to continue. Voice revenue, however, continues to decline and we are delivering on our plan to reduce costs to mitigate this.”