PCCW gets OTT investment boost

Finance | Carrie Chen 11 Aug 2017

PCCW (0008) has attracted investments from Hony Capital, Foxconn Ventures and Temasek for its over-the-top investment in order to further develop the business in 24 markets. The OTT business is valued at HK$4.8 billion.

The three investors will spend a total of US$110 million (HK$858 million) to subscribe an aggregate of 11 million preference shares, or 18 percent of the enlarged issued share capital.

Hony Capital has also been granted an option to subscribe for another two million preference shares at most at US$10 apiece within nine months after the subscription closed on September 25. If Hony exercises the right, the three companies would hold a total stake for about 20.6 percent.

Net proceeds will be used for general working capital and expansion in South East Asia, India and Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

PCCW OTT Group, subsidiary of PCCW, provides OTT services in 24 markets, including video streaming services under brands "Viu" and "Vuclip" as well as music streaming services under "Moov" brand.

Separately, PCCW posted yesterday a 49 percent growth of interim net profit to HK$1.29 billion, thanks to a gain on disposal of wireless broadband business in the United Kingdom in May.

Basic earnings per share was 16.79 HK cents. The company declared an interim dividend of 8.57 HK cents per share, up 5 percent.

Consolidated revenue decreased 5 percent to HK$17.68 billion, due mainly to a 42 percent slump of its mobile handset sales.

Excluding the 7 percent drop of revenue from Pacific Century Premium Developments (0432), core revenue declined 5 percent to HK$17.58 billion.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization remained flat at HK$5.6 billion, an increase in HKT (6823) and solution business were offset by a decrease in Now TV, free TV and over-the-top businesses.

Revenue of Now TV dropped 3 percent to HK$1.35 billion due to higher cost of customer retention in first half 2016. Subscribers remained flat at 1.3 million, but average revenue per user fell 3 percent to HK$186. EBITDA of Now TV fell 16 percent to HK$154 million.

Revenue of free TV, ViuTV, soared 81 percent to HK$94 million, while revenue of OTT posted a 24 percent increase to HK$337 million. But EBITDA of free TV and OTT slumped 71 percent and 15 percent, respectively, due to continued investment in content, branding and new market launches.

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