Earnings at telecoms company Three Ireland fell last year as lockdown restrictions eased and energy costs soared.
The company said earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (ebitda) were €175 million in 2022, 7 per cent lower than the year before.
But the decline was a combination of inflationary impacts on operational spending and a 46 per cent increase in energy costs, along with the first full year of eased pandemic restrictions, which had boosted telecoms companies in general. Revenue rose to €620 million for the year, up from €579 million a year earlier. Net average revenue per user was down 16 per cent year on year to €10.33.
The Irish operation also saw its customer base continue to grow in 2022, reaching 3.8 million. Three said the 700,000 increase was largely driven by connected devices, also known as the Internet of Things, such as the ESB smart meter deployment which is being rolled out nationwide. Active contract customers increased by 27 per cent and prepay customers were up 3 per cent over the year. The 20 per cent bump in Three customers has brought the company’s overall market share to just under 43 per cent.
Chief executive of Three Ireland and UK Robert Finnegan attributed the growth in the customer base to the strength of the operator’s network, the ongoing roll-out of 5G and its customer service operation in Limerick.
“Our 2022 financial performance was satisfactory in light of inflationary impacts on operational expenditure and energy price increases and we were pleased to see good growth in total revenue and margin by €41 million (7 per cent) and €15 million (3 per cent) respectively,” he said. “As part of our sustainability strategy, we continued to invest in energy saving initiatives across the network infrastructure in 2022 which helped mitigate against energy inflation.”
The mobile operator continued to invest in its network over the year, spending €76 million out of a total of €101 million in capital investment in 2022. The company has spent a total of €785 million in its network since 2015. Three’s 5G broadband is now available to more than 1.7 million homes and businesses across Ireland, with 85 per cent population coverage.
Parent company CK Hutchison reported total revenue of HK$ 457.2 billion (€54.9 billion), up from HK$445.4 billion in 2021, a 3 per cent rise.
Ebitda was HK$142 billion, with the group reporting pre-tax profit of HK$59.9 billion.