VIRGIN Media will buy-back up to £375m of its shares as confidence in its cable business rockets.
The firm posted better-than-expected second-quarter results, buoyed by signing up an extra 9,100 customers during the notoriously tough trading period. This was compared with a loss of almost 28,000 customers a year ago and a company consensus for a net loss of 2,000 customers.
Revenue jumped 7.1 per cent to £964m – the strongest revenue growth since the company was formed from a merger more than four years ago. Operating cash flow was up 12.9 per cent to £370m.
The firm will now snap up an initial £375m of its shares over the next 12 months as part of a £700m capital return programme that will also pay down debt.
Chief executive Neil Berkett said: “This performance was driven by our ability to offer households and businesses an increasingly differentiated range of digital services.
“Going forward, we’ll continue to differentiate our propositions by proactively exploiting the advantages of our network and our mobile capability.
“Confidence in our long term ability to deliver strong free cash flow, along with the recent completion of our refinancing, enables us to announce a capital return programme that complements our existing debt reduction schedule.”
The firm also reported its customers are spending more, with average revenue per user up 4.9 per cent to £45.88. The number of users subscribing to its “triple play” package of broadband, TV and phoneline increased from 59 to 62 per cent. Churn – the number of customers leaving the company – was held at 1.3 per cent.