Liberty Global (Nasdaq: LBTYA) rode to strong third quarter earnings with help from its recent Horizon TV platform launch in the Netherlands. Since the early September launch, the company said it has sold more than 50,000 Horizon subscriptions and had over 125,000 unique online for the hybrid TV/online solution.
Liberty Global said in its earnings statement that it plans to launch Horizon TV in Switzerland later this quarter, and in Ireland and Germany in 2013.
For the third quarter, the company added about 320,000 revenue-generating units, helping it to $2.52 billion in revenue, representing rebased growth of 6 percent over the same quarter last year. Year to date, the company now has about 1.1 million RGU additions.
Liberty Global President and CEO Mike Fries reconfirmed the company's 2012 earnings targets, saying that the third quarter was not only the company's best of the year, but its best quarterly performance in two years. Many of the third quarter RGU additions came through increased subscriber sign-up to broadband Internet and telephony services, including continued traction in sales of triple-play bundles. The company said that as of the end of September, 45 percent of customers subscribed to more than one product from us at September 30, 2012, which represents an increase of 24 percent (inclusive of acquisitions), compared to the same period in 2011.
Among other numbers, operating cash flow grew by 5 percent to $1.22 billion, and operating income was up 5 percent to $509 million. Year to date, adjusted free cash flow has increased about 4 percent to $440 million. The company's year-to-date stock repurchases now stand at about $620 million
While opening business for Horizon in the Dutch market has been good, Liberty Global overall lost about 3,000 RGUs in the Netherlands during the third quarter, primarily due to a sharp reduction in the combined broadband Internet and telephony additions for that market from about 56,000 in the third quarter of 2011 to about 18,000 in the same quarter this year. Elsewhere in Europe, Liberty Global's performance was led by its German, Belgian, Hungarian and Swiss operations, which accounted for roughly 80 percent of its total additions in Q3.
- here's the Liberty Global release
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