Tue | Oct 24, 2017

Cable & Wireless Jamaica cuts losses

Published:Friday | November 11, 2016 | 12:00 AMSteven Jackson
Managing director of Cable & Wireless Jamaica, Garfield Sinclair.

Cable & Wireless Jamaica (C&WJ), which trades as FLOW Jamaica, recorded big losses for its second quarter, but it's a big improvement when compared with its performance a year ago.

The net loss of $198 million in the second quarter ending September actually reduced losses by nearly two-thirds when compared with the $485-million loss in the same period a year earlier.

Part of the improvement related to the growth in its revenues totalling $6.5 billion or 15 per cent higher year on year.

"I am pleased to report that the [results] maintain the positive trend of previous results," said Managing Director Garfield Sinclair in statements prefacing the financials.

The company, now part of the Liberty Global group, again accounted for a spike in depreciation charges during the quarter, which totalled 706 million compared with $371 million a year earlier. Previously, Sinclair explained that during 2015-16, in connection with the acquisition of Columbus International by Cable & Wireless Communica-tions, the company re-evaluated the planned timing of network integration, which impacted the pace of depreciation.

Over six months, the telecoms company recorded $893 million in net losses on revenues of $12.5 billion or 13 per cent more than the net loss of $788 million a year earlier.

The mobile business continued to perform with a seven per cent increase in total mobile subscribers, a 31 per cent increase in mobile-data subscribers, and a 50 per cent increase in mobile-data revenues. The C&W Business segment was up by five per cent with growth in mobile acquisitions, small business solutions and data transport services, stated Sinclair.

Despite the rise in mobile and business revenues, broadband revenues decreased primarily due to a new introductory offer discount that occurred throughout the summer.

"We completed the first phase of our project to expand high-speed Internet access the island and our campaign to connect these customers in brand-new areas was extremely successful," said Sinclair.

Despite the net loss over six months, the company's cash pile rocketed to $957 million compared to $198 million a year ago.

Total operating costs over six-months increased to $9.2 billion compared to $8.5 billion a year earlier. The rise was due to out-payments and increases in staff costs.

In May, Liberty Global completed the acquisition of Cable & Wireless Communi-cations Plc, a transaction valued at US$7.4 billion. The CWC business, including C&WJ/ Flow Jamaica, now fall under Liberty's regional operation called LiLAC Group.

C&WJ also indicated that the company would change its accounting year end date from March 31 to December 31.

"This change to the company's financial year end will be coterminous with that of Liberty Global Plc to achieve uniformity throughout the group," said Sinclair. "The relevant applications have been approved by the Tax Administration of Jamaica."

C&WJ posted its first annual profit in a decade, $1.16 billion, at year end March 2016 due in part to these non-cash impairment charges.

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com