Altice said the second quarter saw it “transform into a leading transatlantic, converged telecoms and media company”, while acknowledging that its French business SFR saw “another commercially challenging quarter”.
“Overall we remain very focused on improving the operational and financial performance of the business we’ve acquired and achieving the efficiency savings we’ve targeted, strengthening the management team in recent months accordingly,” said Michel Combes, CEO.
Adjusted EBITDA for France’s second largest mobile operator SFR was down 6.8 per cent to €999 million, on revenue which decreased 4.3 per cent to €2.78 billion.
Altice said that its focus on network quality, customer experience, retention and “content-enriched” service bundles, combined with improving market trends, is expected to drive a significant improvement in SFR’s revenue trend. It claims to have the top fibre coverage in the market, is leading 4G buildout, and making media and content acquisitions as part of its “access plus content” strategy.
Business-to-consumer mobile revenue was down 7.1 per cent, due to a decline in mobile customer base and, to a lesser extent, lower average revenue per user.
Price war easing
Combes noted that a fierce price war in the domestic mobile market showed signs of easing. “We are seeing right now a more normalised competitive environment,” he told a call with reporters. “There’s still promotional activity mainly at the low end of the market, while we are more focused on the high end.”
Parent Altice also reiterated that a deal has been done with the trade unions for SFR’s telecom division, to “enable the company to adapt more quickly to the requirements of the French telecoms market by establishing a more competitive and efficient organisation”.
With the closing of its Cablevision acquisition, Altice has also become “the fourth largest cable operator in the attractive and competitive US market”. The company cited strong adjusted EBITDA growth for its other US units – Suddenlink and Optimum.
For its other units, MEO in Portugal was said to have seen an improved adjusted EBITDA performance due to early efficiency measures, while HOT in Israel has returned to revenue growth.
On a group level, the company reported adjusted EBITDA up 2.7 per cent to €2.27 billion, on revenue which decreased 2.6 per cent to €5.83 billion.