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Aliv: ‘No Let Up’ After 62% Revenue Growth

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Damian Blackburn

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

nhartnell@tribunemedia.net

Aliv’s top executive yesterday pledged that the mobile upstart is “not letting up one bit” after year-to-date revenues jumped 62 percent to hit $40.9m.

Damian Blackburn told Tribune Business that the cellular provider aims “to plough forward with the same momentum” it has enjoyed to-date ahead of its anticipated first positive quarterly contribution to Cable Bahamas operating income (see story HERE).

Speaking as Aliv’s controlling shareholder unveiled its third quarter and nine-month results for its 2019 financial year, Mr Blackburn said the first competitor to the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) had now enjoyed “ten consecutive quarters of market share growth” since its launch on November 2016.

Aliv’s subscriber base now stands at 147,000, which it yesterday said enables it to claim 37 percent market share. That is slightly higher than the 35 percent estimate given by BTC’s owner, Liberty Latin America (LiLAC), as the level where its subscriber loss will bottom out and Aliv’s gains will peak.

Mr Blackburn, meanwhile, confirmed that Aliv was on target to deliver $60m in top-line revenues for the 2019 full-year, having exceeded the prior year’s $36m comparative within the first nine months. The $40.9m achieved over that period represents a 62 percent year-over-year increase, and the Aliv chief said much of that growth was now “locked in”.

With post-paid customers and pre-paid plan “buyers” driving Aliv’s momentum, and now used to the company’s products,” Mr Blackburn told Tribune Business: “The starting point next year is $60m.

“We’re not letting up one bit. We are ploughing forward with the same momentum from a very solid base two-and-a-half years in. The fact is that for 10 consecutive quarters we’ve had market share growth, and have done that by sticking to a very defined plan and roll-out plan, and whatever we had on the way were only pebbles on the road.

“We in Aliv don’t see ourselves as having bottomed out. There’s still growth available.”

Franklyn Butler, Cable Bahamas’ chief executive, said Aliv’s journey to making a positive EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation” was “well within” industry norms. It was set to achieve this within three years of its November 2016 launch, with most cellular start-ups taking between two to five years to reach such a position.

He added that Cable Bahamas was seeking to “leverage” the “best-in-class” customer experience provided by Aliv throughout the Cable Bahamas group to give all its units a point of differentiation that sets them apart from the competition.

Revealing that Cable Bahamas was examining “restructuring some of the capital we have in the business”, although he declined to provide details on any balance sheet-related initiatives, Mr Butler said there were still growth opportunities to be exploited by its subsidiaries.

“The reality is there’s still more growth to unleash in this group,” he told Tribune Business. “The industry is also changing. We have to deal with the issue of TV subscribers choosing Netflix and alternative ways to get content. It’s a challenge, but also an opportunity for us to focus on high-margin businesses like broadband.

“We’re investing in our network every day to make sure customer get the content they want when they want it, and how they want it. There’s still a lot of work to do, still a lot of opportunities between the Bahamian businesses to see how we can take each part of the group and leverage them for maximum efficiency and returns to shareholders.

“How do we steward and guide these businesses to provide maximum value for shareholders down the road?”

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