On 6 November GO plc published its Interim Directors’ Statement stating that the downward trend in the Group’s revenue and profitability reported for the first six months of 2009 continued throughout the third quarter but at a lower rate of decline. This is mainly due to the prevailing economic situation, increased competition which also lead to a reduced Average Rate Per User (ARPU) and the impact of regulation at both the wholesale and retail levels.
Nonetheless, the Directors explained that the Group continues to register growth in its overall customer base as increased numbers in TV, broadband and mobile was more than sufficient to offset the marginal reduction in fixed-line clients. GO is also registering growth in its co-location and related services business following the €9.5 million acquisition of 60% of the issued share capital of BM IT Ltd, BM Support Services Ltd and Bell Net Ltd back in April 2009.
Furthermore, during the three months ended 30 September 2009, the Group started to benefit from reduced payroll charges as staff levels were reduced through the voluntary retirement scheme. The early retirement scheme was concluded in May 2009 and the full benefit of the scheme will be registered in GO’s 2010 financial statements. The Directors stated that GO is still addressing the headcount issue.
Despite experiencing a significant reduction in most administrative costs, the Group is being impacted by significant increases in expenses related to increasing the number of client connections. Despite this, the Directors explained that the ability to retain clients coupled with the overall increase in both the number of clients and the services provided will utlimately sustain the Group’s ability to maintain revenue levels in the medium term.
In conclusion the Directors confirmed that this year Forgendo (the joint-venture company between GO and EITL) acquired a further 2.5% shareholding in Forthnet (the Greek telecommunications company) which now stands at 37.1%. The Directors also noted that Forthnet will be publishing its third quarter results by the end of November.