Strong results and new boardroom appointments suggest a confident eir under CEO Richard Moat.
Few Irish companies have undergone so many distinct phases as telecoms provider eir, which has evolved from state ownership through privatisation, rename, flotation, changes of ownership and the rebrand to its current identity.
At the end of January the company released results that suggest the company’s current incarnation is one of its more successful: underlying revenue for Q2 2016 is up 2% year on year to €336m; EBITDA rose by 4% to €121m, and – as is so rare these days – operating costs have been reduced by €3m; 2% year on year.
There was similar good news in the six-month update: revenue up 2%, EBITDA up 2%, costs down 3% – all good news for CEO Richard Moat, who spoke of “strong business momentum” continuing. “We remain focused on network investment, bundling and convergence, with all these initiatives underpinning our successful transformation from a telephony to a media company.”
The stats behind that transformation were also encouraging for Moat: on-track to reach 1.9m premises with high-speed broadband by the end of next year, 53,000 homes and businesses passed with fibre to the home, 500,000 fibre broadband connections, a 31% uptake of fibre (26% this time last year), and 23% of customers signed up to triple- or quad-play bundles.
We remain focused on network investment, bundling and convergence, with all these initiatives underpinning our successful transformation from a telephony to a media company
“Communities such as Belclare, Cornamona, Inverin and Turloughmore in Co Galway, as well as Dunleer in Co. Louth are able to access high-speed broadband with a best-in-class broadband service offering speeds up to 1,000Mb/s,” said Moat. “This is on par with the fastest broadband speeds available anywhere in the world and demonstrates eir’s commitment to foster economic development across rural Ireland.
“Finally, 4G mobile data coverage has now reached 95% of the population, three months ahead of schedule. This improved connectivity has also delivered an increase in large-scale business customers as we expand our offerings to this segment.”
Over the past year the group added 63,000 broadband connections (now at 880,000), 18,000 eir Vision customers (now at 63,000) and can count 200,000 eir Sport users across all platforms after the acquisition of Setanta Sports, described by Moat at the time as a “game changer”.
Media speculation is pointing to the possibility that the company will be floated this year – in which context three new non-executive director appointments may be particularly significant. Joining the board are former TalkTalk CEO David Goldie; experienced Spanish telecoms, entertainment and food industry figure Rosalia Portela De Pablo, and former Telecom New Zealand CEO and BT Group veteran Paul Reynolds.
“Each brings an extraordinary level of industry knowledge as well as a range of industry experiences and unique market perspectives,” said chairman Padraig McManus. “This further strengthens the composition of the board, which will be invaluable as it oversees the continued execution of the group’s strategy.”
All in all, flotation or no flotation, all signs suggest that Moat’s talk of “momentum” is being backed up by results on the ground.
- Richard Moat was named CEO of the then-eircom in November 2014.
- Since 2012 he had been CFO and executive director.
- From Birmingham, Moat is a Cambridge law graduate and accountant.
- Before joining eir he was CFO and deputy CEO of Everything Everywhere, and is a former managing director of T-Mobile UK.