Liberty Puerto Rico revenues up significantly
SAN JUAN – Liberty Puerto Rico had marked revenue growth and saw a significant increase in revenue generating units (RGUs), according to its financial results for the third quarter (Q3 2018), which were released Thursday.
“We are still committed to the island and to our clients,” Naji Khoury, president and CEO of Liberty Puerto Rico, told Caribbean Business. “We don’t see that changing. The island will have growth in 2019 and 2020.”
Why did Liberty Puerto Rico have a good quarter? The growth was driven by the acquisition of new and reconnected residential and commercial customers and $11 million received from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that was granted to help restore and improve coverage and service quality after the damage caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria.
“Our financial performance for this quarter shows that we have recovered from the hurricanes last year and we have been successful in moving forward with our plans to continue upgrading our services,” Khoury said. “Our broadband product is breaking records in data delivery and transfer, which shows an increased internet use trend in Puerto Rico. We are constantly responding to customer demands, which is why we recently launched our new 150Mbps [megabits per second] bundles. These bundles offer more value to our customers while providing a more stable, faster Internet service that supports the increased, multiple-device usage occurring today in customers’ homes and businesses.”
Khoury also noted that Liberty’s restoration process was completed, with all reported residential and business customers now online and billable. This, along with successful product launches such as its live-stream app, Liberty Go, has been key in Liberty Puerto Rico’s RGU and revenue growth this quarter.
Liberty’s business-to-business division, he added, surpassed pre-hurricane levels while demand in its small office/home office (SoHo) division continues to grow.
The company, he said, also had a good year because it invested “and will continue to invest” in higher-speed networks.
Liberty also continued to focus on providing the best working environment for its employees, winning the company a spot, for the second year in a row, on the list of Puerto Rico’s Best Employers, according to Aon’s study.
The awards pay recognition to companies that strive to achieve a high level of engagement and good human resources practices, as well as foster employee excellence.
“We believe that happy, engaged employees provide a better customer experience. Thanks to our great employees we have been able to maintain a positive Net Promoter Score this quarter,” Khoury said.
Strengthening the company’s corporate social responsibility role also took on a growing importance. The company’s recently established Liberty Foundation started gearing up for its upcoming 21st Golf Invitational, which will be held Nov. 28-30. The tournament’s proceeds will benefit local nonprofit organizations focused on youth development, as well as social, cultural, educational and environmental causes.
The company, which provides internet access, VoIP communication, and TV services covering all of Puerto Rico, said that part of its future strategy is to continue to improve resiliency by burying its fiber-optic ring around the island. Khoury said Liberty already has backup power generation in its facilities but that “our issue is that the network needs homes to be powered.”
Regarding what kind of business environment would be conducive to even greater growth, Khoury said the local government should repeal the tax on stored goods, known as the inventory tax, to ease doing business in Puerto Rico.
“The permitting process for us is problematic. It is complex, convoluted and bureaucratic,” he said, while stressing a need for deregulation and allowing market forces to guide development.