Monday, 20 May, 2019

TalkTalk to build FTTH network for three million United Kingdom premises

TalkTalk to build FTTH network for three million United Kingdom premises TalkTalk to build FTTH network for three million United Kingdom premises
Russell Knight | 08 February, 2018, 14:58

The operator and the infrastructure equity investment arm of M&G Prudential said they had agreed "heads of terms" - equivalent to a letter of intent or a memorandum of understanding - on the creation of an independent company to carry out the build.

The plans build on TalkTalk's successful full fibre network trial in York, which already reaches 14,000 homes and is being expanded to reach 54,000.

Infracapital would provide 80 percent of the funding and TalkTalk 20 percent, with potential equity investment of up to GBP 500 million, enabling total investment of around GBP 1.5 billion.

TalkTalk is to be a founding wholesale customer of the new company, providing a minimum volume commitment.

The placing will be used to "strengthen the company's balance sheet, to support its continued customer growth and its investment in its long-term FTTP (fibre to the premises) plans", it said.

Separately on Thursday, TalkTalk provided an update on its financials, trimming its dividend and full-year 2018 core earnings expectations.

The £200m will be raised through the placing of new shares, with executive chairman Charles Dusntone and other directors contributing up to £40m.

"Looking ahead we see real opportunity to continue growing the core business whilst also investing in full fibre".

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"It's 12 months since I announced my intention to take a more active role in the management of TalkTalk", said Dunstone.

TalkTalk confirmed that it was in talks to provide a full-fibre roll-out across the United Kingdom, potentially providing full fibre to more than 3 million homes and businesses in medium-sized towns and cities.

For the full year 2019, the group expects headline revenue growth, a 15% increase in EBTIDA, net adds in line with 2018, average revenue per user stabilising and a "significant" cost reduction as part of its restructuring.

It will cut the dividend from 7.5p a year to 2.5p to invest in growth and fibre with the final payout reduced to 1.5p.

Overall, the operator added 37,000 customers in the quarter, the highest number of net additions for nearly three years.

He said the company needs to strengthen its balance sheet ahead of the venture, and has "temporarily reduced our dividend to take full advantage of the opportunities available". Since then, we have reset the business and returned it to quarter-on-quarter customer growth.

TalkTalk shares have lost over 40% since the beginning of November. Revenues grew by one per cent during the quarter.

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