Brit mobe mast master Arqiva trumpets revenue, profit bump

So much for the shift to streaming... for now

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UK comms infrastructure provider Arqiva has reported a bump in operating profits of 6.1 per cent to £158.7m for its half-year results – mainly thanks to a "cost-control" and "operating efficiency" programme.

Revenue rose 3.4 per cent to £482m, boosted by its terrestrial broadcast business, which grew 7 per cent to £239.4m.

The company said that was in part thanks to its 700MHz spectrum clearance contract, the frequency on which 5G will run. It is retuning broadcast transmitters so they can shift to a lower frequency. However, its satellite and media business fared less well with sales falling 9.6 per cent to £67.9 m.

Last year Arqiva abruptly pulled out of a £6bn IPO,  citing "market volatility". Some observers speculated the firm might struggle to convince investors of the long-term future in broadcast TV. Sky has since signalled the end of the satellite dish with plans to make all its channels and content available online.

The firm did not shed any more light on why the board considered the transaction to no longer be in its best interests, but said it would "continue to consider" the options.

In a statement not light on bombast, chief exec Simon Beresford-Wylie said: "The strength of our financial performance reflects our vital role in delivering the technology that will ensure Britain's digital future.

"From the delivery of new TV content to the clearance of the airwaves over which 5G will come to life, and the overall increasing demand for connectivity over the airwaves, we are a key enabler of a coming change."

John McCaul, analyst at Megabuyte, noted that the company has been successful in cutting costs, partly by dropping low-margin contracts.

"Furthermore, the company remains upbeat on the outlook, in particular, focusing on upcoming 5G trials and deployments, having recently acquired Luminet's 5G-ready 28GHz London spectrum," he said.

Arqiva employs more than 2,000 people and reported revenues of almost £1bn for the year ended 30 June.

Some 19 million homes are connected via Arqiva's 1,500 TV and radio terrestrial transmission and broadcasting sites and 8,000 wireless towers. The firm's roots date back to 1922 when the BBC made its first radio broadcast. ®


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