Altice USA (NYSE:ATUS) Q4 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

Feb 12, 2020 • 04:30 pm ET

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Altice USA (NYSE:ATUS) Q4 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

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Presentation
Operator
Operator

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by, and welcome to the Altice USA Q4 and Full Year 2019 Earnings Presentation. At this time, all participants lines are in a listen-only mode. After the speakers' presentation, there will be a question-and-answer session. [Operator Instructions]

I would now like to hand the conference over to your speaker today, Nick Brown. Thank you. Please go ahead, sir.

Executive
Nick Brown

Hello, everyone, and thank you for joining. In a moment, I'll hand you over to Altice USA's CEO, Dexter Goei; and 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 the disclaimer on page two. The slides are available on the company's website, and a replay of the call will be available after the call.

And now I'll hand over to Dexter.

Executive
Dexter Goei

Thanks Nick. Hello, everyone. Thank you for joining. I'm going to jump right into slide three. Revenue growth for 2019 was 2% with adjusted EBITDA growth of 2.5% or 3.4%, excluding mobile launch costs. Following our strength in the first half of the year when we were growing north of 3%, we saw a temporary slow down in Q3 and the first part of Q4 due to a few factors we shared in November, including lapping a prior year rate event, the impact from higher than normal promotional roll-offs and some disruption from our recent BSS/OSS integration. However, we saw a stronger than expected turnaround in operational performance in December. Specifically, we saw a significant rebound in customer and broadband net additions leading to a 7,000 net broadband additions for the quarter with normalized trends continuing so far in Q1. Even with the temporary uptick in churn in the early part of Q4, broadband and video customer trends for the whole year in 2019 were in line with prior years, as I'll show you in a minute.

News and advertising growth is still being driven by a4 and Cheddar and the offset we saw from the political cycle is expected to reverse in 2020. Altice Mobile has been ramping up since we launched in September, as we continue to expand our handset lineup and have opened multiple sales channels. We are excited for the launch of new handset this year, which we think will drive a strong switching cycle. Also, we are very happy and supportive of the T-Mobile-Sprint decision, which we will believe will be a very good now long-term partnership for us. On the network side, we increased investment to ramp-up our fiber build during 2019 and simultaneously deployed DOCSIS 3.1, all of this to serve to drive a differentiated connectivity experience for our customers.

While Mike will take you through the outlook for 2020 in more detail. I want to highlight the anticipated acceleration to revenue growth for the core cable business and even faster for total revenue, including a full year of mobile. We expect free cash flow to step up supporting another $1.7