August 8, 2019 / 8:34 AM / 3 months ago

Q2 sales decline at Liberty Global's Swiss arm UPC

ZURICH, Aug 8 (Reuters) - UPC, the Swiss arm of telecoms company Liberty Global and target of a 6.3 billion Swiss franc ($6.46 billion) takeover bid by Sunrise Communications, on Thursday reported a 3.6% fall in second-quarter revenue.

The drop in revenues at the cable TV and internet provider followed contractions of 3.7% in the first quarter, a 5.1% fall in the fourth quarter of 2018 and 6.3% drop in the third.

Investors are watching UPC’s performance to see whether the Sunrise bid, to be funded by a rights issue, is properly valued.

“In the face of continued fierce competition and in line with expectations, revenue fell by 3.6% compared to the same quarter last year to a total of 315.6 million Swiss francs,” UPC said in a statement.

UPC put a brave face on the numbers, saying positive trends for revenue and subscriber numbers had continued in the April-June period. It posted record sales in the Mobile segment and saw a continued increase of its UPC TV box in the customer base.

“The highest increase in the number of mobile subscriptions since 2016, which was observed in the first quarter, was surpassed in the second quarter, while the situation in the Internet and TV segments has not been as good as this since the fourth quarter of 2017, proving that our strategy works and results are pointing to an upward trend,” UPC Chief Executive Severina Pascu said.

The number of mobile subscribers rose by 14,000 from the first quarter to 173,000. The number of subscribers in the TV segment fell by 19,000 versus the previous quarter, slowing from falls of 23,000 in Q1 2019 and 32,000 in Q4 2018.

It had 9,000 fewer subscribers in the Internet segment, while its business customer segment grew in the first half.

Sunrise was not immediately available for comment.

$1 = 0.9747 Swiss francs Reporting by Michael Shields, editing by John Revill

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