Three triples operating profit in first half of 2013

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The operator saw a nine per cent rise in revenues and a 72 per cent rise in earnings before tax and interest

Three UK saw its operating profit rise 231 per cent year on year to £86 million in the first six months of 2013.

The operator also saw a nine per cent rise in revenue in the first half of the year, with postpay customer numbers rising five per cent.

The company’s revenue for the six months to June 30 was £1,002 million, up nine per cent on the same period last year.

Net customer service revenues rose 0.5 per cent year on year to £667 million, and net customer service margin rose 14 per cent to £519 million.

EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) came to £188 million, 72 per cent higher than in the first half of 2012.

Postpaid customer numbers rose five per cent from December 2012 to June 30 to reach 5,535,000.

Prepaid customer numbers fell two per cent from the end of last year to 3,698,000.

Total customer numbers now stand at 9,233,000, a rise of two per cent from December.

It added 168,000 net new customers in Q2, bringing active customers to over 7.5 million – a 10% increase year on year.

The company said growth has largely come from high-value contract smartphone customers. Its store upgrade programme, which has seen certain stores rebranded from 3 to Three, has also helped, the company said.

However, average revenue per user (ARPU) fell two per cent between December of the end of June to £20.76 (£6.42 for prepaid, £26.96 for postpaid).

Three UK’s chief financial officer said: “We’ve seen another quarter of sustained and profitable growth, driven by new, high-value smartphone customers and a continued focus on cost efficiency.

“We’re attracting more and more customers, but importantly these are very engaged customers, delivering growth to the bottom line.

“We believe the prepay market presents a real opportunity for growth and we’re looking forward to growing our share with the UK’s simplest, clearest and best value prepay offer,” said Woodward.

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