Puerto Rico and Chile

Liberty Latin America still eyeing M&A opportunities

Bnamericas Published: Friday, February 22, 2019

Liberty Latin America (LLA) continues to explore M&A opportunities in the region in a "disciplined" way despite a failed attempt to takeover regional competitor Millicom and missing out on opportunities to snap up the Central American assets of Telefónica.

Speaking on a conference call with investors, LLA CEO Balan Nair said on Thursday that the company sees numerous M&A opportunities still out there and has several financing options.

In January, talks regarding a possible takeover of Luxembourg-based Millicom were aborted after the companies reportedly failed to reach an agreement on price.

On Wednesday, Millicom announced it had agreed with Telefónica to acquire the Spanish company's remaining Central American assets in Panama, Nicaragua and Costa Rica for US$1.7bn. Last month, Telefónica sold its El Salvador and Guatemala units to América Móvil.

"We don't comment on M&A, especially other people's transactions. But we are competitive in Costa Rica and Panama," Nair said when asked about the most recent transaction. "Millicom is a good company."

In October, LLA acquired 80% of Costa Rican cable operator Cabletica and bought the remaining 40% of Liberty Puerto Rico. This month, the company announced plans to establish an operations center in Panama City where it has a presence through its Cable & Wireless Communications unit.


LLA posted a 10% y-o-y growth in Q4 revenue to US$949mn and a 2% rise in revenues to US$3.7bn for 2018.

"In our first year as a separately listed company, we successfully established a strong team and culture, delivered all of our 2018 financial guidance targets and created great operational momentum heading into 2019," Nair said.

LLA's Cable & Wireless unit, which has 16 operations in the Caribbean and Panama, posted a 0.4% y-o-y drop in revenues in Q4 to US$583mn. Revenue generating units (RGUs) doubled in full-year 2018 to 96,000.

Chilean cable operator VTR and Costa Rican cable operator Cabletica (which is managed by VTR) posted combined revenue of US$274mn in the quarter, up 9.4% from US$250mn a year ago. The companies added 78,000 broadband RGU for the year.

Liberty Puerto Rico saw US$93.9mn, which was not comparable to 2017, when the company was recovering from the devastating hurricanes María and Irma. Liberty added 31,000 RGUs in Q4.

The company said that in 2018 the company added 435,000 LTE subscribers.

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