Liberty Global Reports Q1 2020 Results
Giga-ready networks proving resilient amidst COVID-19 usage surge
Repurchased nearly $500 million of shares through the end of April
Q1 operating income up 166% year-over-year to $280.6 million
Denver, Colorado: May 6, 2020
Liberty Global plc today announced its Q1 2020 financial results. Our former operations in Austria, Germany, Hungary, Romania and the Czech Republic, along with our DTH business (collectively, the "Discontinued Operations") are presented as discontinued operations for the three months ended March 31, 2019. Unless otherwise indicated, the information in this release relates only to our continuing operations.
CEO Mike Fries stated, "Along with the rest of the world, we’ve been focused in recent weeks on tackling the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. We have been primarily concerned with ensuring the health and safety of our employees and providing robust and reliable connectivity for our customers. I am happy to report that our broadband networks have readily absorbed increases exceeding 20% in downstream and 50% in upstream bandwidth across our footprint. Our recent investments in infrastructure, gigabit speeds and connectivity products have proven invaluable to our customers.
In addition to delivering critical telecommunications services, we have launched a number of initiatives aimed at enhancing our customers’ experience during these difficult times. At Virgin Media, for example, we have provided free kids programming, greater connectivity to critical public services such as NHS hospitals and bigger data packages for our mobile customers. On the continent, Telenet and UPC have launched similar plans ranging from free broadband speed increases to improved connectivity for nursing care facilities so that families can stay in touch with their loved ones virtually. Connectivity is at the heart of our company and we remain unwavering in our commitment to providing our customers and communities with the very best broadband experience possible, especially now.
As a critical service provider with limited exposure to those sectors of the economy most impacted by the pandemic, our Q1 results were broadly in-line with our expectations. At Virgin Media, we held our fixed-line customer base largely flat while increasing customer ARPU 1.2%. Virgin also delivered a record 72,000 postpaid mobile additions in Q1, bringing our FMC penetration to 22%, up 250 basis point from Q1’19. This result was powered by our Oomph! FMC bundles which feature super-fast broadband speeds combined with attractive mobile offers. We saw continued progress at UPC Switzerland as our fixed-line customer losses nearly halved year over year and our FMC penetration increased to 21%, up from 15% twelve months ago. Our Swiss operation continues to track to plan despite increased competition in the market and we remain particularly encouraged by the free cash flow profile of the business. And in Belgium, we experienced a similar trend with a small decline in fixed customers offset by an increase in