Chorus posts maiden profit
Mon, 27 Aug 2012 10:46a.m.
Chorus has posted a maiden profit in its first seven months since splitting from Telecom Corp, and flagged a 25.5 cent dividend for its first full year as a standalone entity in 2013.
Net profit was $102 million in the seven months ended June 30, on sales of $613m, the company said.
Annualised operating revenue, which includes its time under Telecom's umbrella, rose to $1.03 billion from $1.02b in 2011 on a pro-forma basis.
Annualised earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of $665m beat analysts' consensus forecast of $638.4m.
"We've focused on supporting our customers during what is a period of complex industry transition, and it has been good to see their success in adding about 50,000 broadband connections to the network," chief executive Mark Ratcliffe said.
Chorus was spun out from Telecom as a separately listed company last year to free up the telecommunications company from its regulatory burden and allow the network operator to successfully win a billion dollar subsidy to build a nationwide fibre network and rural broadband system.
The company's board declared a fully-imputed dividend of 14.6 cents per share and said next year's return will be 25.5 cents.
The bulk of Chorus' sales were to former parent Telecom, with $523m, or 85 percent, coming from the country's biggest listed company.
As at June 30, Chorus had 1.78m fixed line connections, of which 1.59m were base copper. Total broadband connections were 1.04m.
Mr Ratcliffe said its copper pricing is "highly uncertain" as the Commerce Commission looks at de-linking the prices of certain services.
"This means the regulatory framework and pending regulatory processes remain central to how incentivised or aligned the industry will be in making choices that support the Crown's UFB (ultrafast broadband) policy," he said.
Chorus spent $346m on gross capital expenditure in the period, and retained its forecast capex spend of $560m to $610m in 2013.
It estimates the Government's UFB project will cost between $1.4b and $1.6b to build by 2019, while the rural broadband initiative is expected to cost between $280m and $295m.
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