Cable network's losses linked to merger

MADRID  — Ono, Spain’s main cabler, posted 2007 operating profits of 642 million euros ($1 billion), up 14.9% on 2006, the company announced Tuesday. Revenues dropped 1.1% to $2.52 billion.

Net losses of $308.9 million were driven by extraordinary charges of $365 million in writedowns linked to its 2005 merger with triple-play rival Auna.

“It’s been a year of impasse for Ono,” said an analyst, “with a poor earnings evolution but an appreciable 4.7% drop in operating net costs to $830 million,” he added.

“Ono has assimilated well the costs of the Auna integration, but revenues haven’t reached the estimated levels. Competition has prevented a larger increase in client takeup.”

Ono’s TV service customers increased 4.4% to 960,000 by December, mainly due to the launch of new TV packages such as Essential, with 40 TV channels; Extra, with 70; and Total, with 95.

Spain’s leading triple-play provider, Ono reached 582,000 subscribers for its combined telephony-Internet-TV service, 31.2% of its total client base.

In March, company announced it had reached 1 million TV customers.

Ono prexy Eugenio Galdon announced Tuesday that it plans to launch ultra-high-speed 100 MB broadband service next fall.

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