TalkTalk to move headquarters and take on BT's Openreach with new fibre company
Talktalk Telecom Group PLC said it would relocate its headquarters from London to Salford next year and accelerate its fibre broadband rollout as it reported a 0.6% dip in first-half revenue.
Hundreds of roles will be relocated to Salford, where its business and technology teams are already based, while the firm will start hiring for new posts at the site next year.
The telecoms firm said the move out of London was part of its strategy to simplify its operations. The Salford site is its only site in the North West of England after replacing offices in Warrington and Irlam.
“Having a single main home will reduce operational complexity and allow us to become a more efficient, focused business, in turn supporting our long-term growth,” said chief executive Tristia Harrison.
First half revenues dip
Alongside the announcement, the company reported statutory revenue of £822mln for the first six months of the year, down from £827mln last year, mainly due to the decision to close its mobile virtual network operations last year.
Headline revenue, excluding carrier and off-net, grew by 3.9% to £771mln as the broadband customer base grew by 104,000 and the group saw increased take-up of fibre, mitigating a continued decline in average revenue per user (APRU) for fixed priced plans and a drop in voice usage.
Headline earnings (EBITDA) rose 34.7% to £101mln on higher revenue and lower costs.
TalkTalk said its churn rate – the number of customers leave – was at the lowest-ever level in the second quarter at 1.1%, compared to 1.2% last year.
For the year, the company said it was on track to achieve headline EBITDA in line with expectations, headline revenue growth with stabilising group ARPU and ongoing consumer ARPU growth, along with more than 150,000 broadband net adds. However, its profit and loss statement and cash will be lower year-on-year.
“We remain on track to deliver our plan for the year, with growing consumer ARPU and increasing revenue leading to strong EBITDA growth,” Harrison said.
TalkTalk sets up new fibre company
In a separate statement, the company said it would accelerate its fibre broadband roll-out by setting up a new company called FibreNation.
FibreNation plans to bring full fibre broadband to three million homes and businesses. Fibre is faster and more reliable than the UK’s old broadband infrastructure of copper lines.
The new business will compete with BT Group PLC’s Openreach network, which plans to bring fibre to 10 million premises by 2025.
TalkTalk said it is discussions with potential partners – including Infracapital, the infrastructure equity investment arm of M&G Prudential –to develop a long-term capital structure for FibreNation.
The company said it will not be progressing on the basis of the heads of terms agreed with Infracapital earlier this year to create an independent company. Under the terms, announced in February, Infracapital was to provide 80% of the funding to create the new company, while TalkTalk would foot the bill for the rest.
Industry: Telecommunications News
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