Altice USA (NYSE:ATUS) Q3 2019 Earnings Conference Call Transcript

Nov 05, 2019 • 04:15 pm ET

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Altice USA (NYSE:ATUS) Q3 2019 Earnings Conference Call Transcript

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Presentation
Operator
Operator

Thank you for standing by and welcome to the Altice USA Q3 2019 Earnings Presentation. [Operator Instructions]

I'd now like to hand the conference over to your speaker today Nick Brown with Altice USA. Please go ahead.

Executive
Nick Brown

Hello everyone and thank you for joining. In a moment I'll hand over to our Altice USA's CEO Dexter Goei; and our new CFO Mike Grau who will take you through the presentation and then we'll move to Q&A. As today's presentation may contain forward-looking statements please read disclaimer on page two. The slides are available on the company's website and we'll make a replay of the call available.

And now I'll hand over to Dexter.

Executive
Dexter Goei

Thanks Nick. Hello everyone. Before I begin I just want to take a moment to welcome Mike as our new Chief Financial Officer of Altice USA. The most recently led our financial planning control organization and prior to that held various leadership roles and finance at Cablevision for more than 15 years. So welcome, Mike. I also want to take the opportunity to thank Charlie for his exemplary leadership at LTC USA, and I'm delighted for him as he takes on his new role at Sotheby's. I look forward to Charlie continuing as a member of our board of directors and to its ongoing valuable insights and advisor to me on strategic initiatives. Starting with a summary on slide three, revenue growth slowed to 0.9% in q3, as we left the prior year rate event and had the absence of political advertising revenue as expected. adjusted EBIT da was flat year over year although grew 0.7% x wireless losses, which stepped up a bit since we launched LTS mobile in September. Based on the initial contribution we've seen from Altice Mobile we now expect slightly lower growth for 2019 approximately 2.5% primarily due to the slower ramp-up in sales of effectively 0 margin handset equipment as we had previously anticipated making those sales available on our e-commerce online channel in Q3.

We expect to open this in other sales channels in the next few weeks to result in faster revenue growth in 2020 since it's mostly phasing for the ramp-up of Altice Mobile. Note that our guidance for margins free cash flow and leverage remain unchanged. Given our confidence we anticipated acceleration of revenue and free cash flow in 2020 we were happy to take advantage of available liquidity and increases our buyback in Q3 to reach a total of $1.7 billion for this year ahead of our initial target. Our core broadband and video business continues to perform very well driven by Altice One and our continuous network investments. This helped deliver the best ever third quarter underlying customer performance. This improved performance is one of the things that make us comfortable to pull the trigger on the unification of the Suddenlink and Optimum OSS and BSS platforms in September which should bring numerous benefits to the company which I will come back to shortly. On top