NEW YORK – Altice USA today reports results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2019.
Key Financial Highlights
- Total Revenue grew +2.0% YoY in FY 2019 to $9.76 billion. Total revenue grew +0.8% YoY in Q4 2019 to $2.475 billion, driven by Q4 Residential revenue growth of +0.1% (including Broadband growth of +11.1%), Q4 Business Services revenue growth of +4.1% and Q4 News and Advertising revenuedecline of -9.0% (ex-political, News and Advertising grew +10.3% YoY).
- Net Income attributable to stockholders was $138.9 million for FY 2019, or $0.21/share (increased from net income of $18.8 million in FY 2018, or $0.03/share). Net income was $0.3 million in Q42019.
- Adjusted EBITDA(1) grew +2.5% YoY in FY 2019 to $4.27 billion with a margin of 43.7% (growth of +3.4% and a margin of 44.2% ex-mobile losses). Adjusted EBITDA of $1.085 billion in Q4 2019 declined -1.9% YoY including mobile losses, with an Adjusted EBITDA margin of 43.8%. Q4 Adjusted EBITDA excluding mobile losses was in line with prior year (-0.2% YoY) with an Adjusted EBITDA margin of45.0%(2)
- Free Cash Flow(1) of $1.20 billion in FY 2019, declined 11.5% YoY, mainly reflecting higher investment in key growth initiatives such as fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) and mobile, as well as the timing of working capital outflow, partially offset by lower interest costs. Free Cash Flow of $397 million declined -4.8%YoY in Q4 2019, reflecting the same factors.
- FY 2020 Outlook: The company expects revenue growth (ex-mobile) to accelerate to 2.0% to 2.5% with a further expansion in Adjusted EBITDA margin (ex-mobile). The company continues to target year-end leverage of 4.5-5.0x (L2QA) and expects to complete $1.7 billion in share repurchases in 2020.
Key Operational Highlights
- Ongoing network investments and the rollout of Altice One supported 2019 broadband and video customer trends, which were in line with prior years despite a temporary uptick in churn in early Q4. The company saw a significant rebound in customer and broadband net additions in December. Altice USA reached 543k unique Altice One customers as of the end 2019 (approximately 17% of total video customers, up from 9% at the end of 2018).
- Total unique Residential customer relationships grew +0.3% YoY in FY 2019 with Residential revenue per customer relationship growth of +1.3% YoY to $143.98, supporting Residential revenue growth of +1.6% YoY (in line with FY 2018 Residential customer growth of +0.2% YoY, revenue per customer relationship growth of +1.3% YoY and revenue growth of +1.5% YoY). In Q4 2019, Residential revenue grew +0.1% YoY with quarterly unique Residential customer relationships down -5k sequentially due to temporary promotional roll-offs and disruption from the completed BSS/OSS integration, all of which was mitigated in December.
- Residential Broadband RGU quarterly net additions of +7k in Q4 2019 (vs. +22k in Q4 2018), with +17k net additions in December more than offsetting declines in October and November following promotional roll-offs and BSS/OSS integration. Residential broadband net additions of +72k in FY 2019, +1.7% YoY, were in line with prior year (+72k net additions in FY2018).
- Residential Video RGU quarterly net losses of -44k in Q4 2019 (vs. -14.2k in Q4 2018), leading to a decline of 3.3% YoY for FY 2019 (versus -2.9% YoY video RGUs in FY 2018).
- Residential revenue per customer relationship was down slightly (-0.4%) YoY at $142.65 in Q4 2019.
- Business Services revenue grew +4.8% in FY 2019 with growth in Enterprise & Carrier of +3.6%YoY and SMB +5.5% YoY. For Q4 2019, Business Services revenue grew +4.1% YoY in Q4 2019 with growth in Enterprise & Carrier of +1.2% YoY and SMB +5.9% YoY.
- News and Advertising revenue declined -2.3% in FY 2019. Growth driven by a4 and Cheddar was offset by the political cycle in 2H 2019, which is expected to reverse in 2020 (in FY 2019, excluding political, News and Advertising revenue grew +9.9%). News and Advertising revenue declined -9.0% YoY in Q4 2019 (+10.3% YoY growth ex-political).
- Increased demand for higher broadband speed tiers and significant growth in data usage. The average broadband speed taken by Altice USA’s customer base has increased over threefold in thepast three years to 213 Mbps at the end of Q4 2019 (from 64 Mbps at the end of 2016) and average household data usage was over 316 GB per month (growth of over 20% YoY). The company observesbroadbandonly customers on average using 420 GB of data per month, compared to 271 GB per month for videobroadband bundle customers, with video streaming services consistently a key driver of increased demand for higher speeds and greater usage.
FY 2020 Outlook
For the full year 2020, the company expects:
- Revenue growth (ex-mobile) of 2.0% to 2.5%
- Adjusted EBITDA margin (ex-mobile) expansion
- Capital expenditures of $1.3 billion to $1.4 billion
- Year-end Leverage target 4.5x to 5.0x net debt / Adjusted EBITDA (L2QAbasis)
- Share repurchases of $1.7