Eir reports ‘solid’ third quarter despite Covid impact

Sports content revenue hit by pandemic, but number of fibre broadband customers rises

Telecoms and media company Eir said its third-quarter results were "solid" as it increased its number of fibre broadband customers and postpay mobile customers.

Revenue fell 3 per cent to €299 million over the three months to March 31st, with traditional access and voice revenue declining. Sports content revenue was also hit by Covid-19 as the pandemic caused the restriction of events.

But earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) were stable at €154 million, and cost-management measures saw the company shave 4 per cent from its operating costs year-on-year to €92 million.

"Our performance in the third quarter remained solid and consistent with recent trends, with continued streamlining of our cost base helping to offset Covid-19 related impacts to revenue, with ebitda remaining stable for the period and further year-on-year increases in our fibre, mobile, TV and bundled customer bases realised, despite the continued challenges faced from the external environment as Ireland gradually reawakens from a period of stringent restrictions on society and the economy," said Eir's chief financial officer Stephen Tighe.


“We expect further improvements in our performance into the fourth quarter, with continued ebitda growth, business streamlining and optimisation, further cash generation, and capital expenditure on our networks to drive future growth.”

Fibre network

Eir now has 810,000 fibre broadband customers, representing 84 per cent of the company’s total broadband base. The fibre network passes 2.1 million premises across the country and 820,000 premises are passed by fibre to the home.

The company’s postpay mobile base increased by 10 per cent to 836,000, with overall mobile customers at 1.189 million. The mobile growth is being driven by GoMo, Eir’s MVNO brand.

Eir’s TV customers increased by 5 per cent to 81,000 over the period. Multi-play bundling accounted for 37 per cent of fixed households.

Eir is continuing to roll out its 5G network across towns and cities in Ireland, with the next-generation network available in 288 towns and cities.

"While we have many reasons to be optimistic as the vaccine rollout ramps up in Ireland and restrictions ease, the world will likely never be the same, and connectivity will remain more essential than ever to our daily lives. This connectivity has allowed us to work from home, study and socialise remotely, and in many ways it has been our lifeline," said Eir chief executive Carolan Lennon.

“Many of our customers want to maintain the benefits that the pandemic has brought to their working lives. For many of us, we won’t return to our pre-pandemic way of life, we see a future where we will continue to work remotely full-time or through a hybrid work model. Our investment in the upgrade of our networks will ensure that our customers will be facilitated to work from home, wherever that may be.

“Our ongoing €1 billion capital investment programme is bringing huge benefits for our customers, with access to high-speed broadband across Ireland.”

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist