May 19, 2024

UNE-EPM Posts Net Loss for Full-Year 2020 on Covid-19 Problems

Medellin-based telecom, internet and cable-TV giant UNE-EPM revealed a COP$25 billion (US$6.7 million) net loss for full-year 2020, down from a COP$61 million (US$16,500) net profit in 2019.

Revenues also dipped slightly, to COP$4.84 trillion (US$1.3 trillion), from COP$4.9 trillion (US$1.32 billion) in 2019, as the Covid-19 pandemic generated bad debts.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) dipped slightly year-on-year, to COP$1.6 trillion (US$432 million), from COP$1.626 trillion (US$439 million) in 2019.

UNE-EPM is a partnership between Medellin-based utilities giant EPM and Spain-based multinational telecom provider Millicom.

Besides the partnership’s “Tigo” cell-phone service and the “UNE” cable-TV, phone-line and internet services, UNE-EPM also owns the “Colombia Movil” cell-phone service, the “Edatel” rural telecom services company, the Orbitel “OSI” long-distance service and the “CTC” telecom service in Miami, Florida.

While 2020 revenues from services to households rose 4% year-on-year, cell-phone revenues from post-pay customers declined 3% during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the company.

At year-end 2020, UNE-EPM had 1.647 million fixed telecom lines, 1.8 million internet connections, 1.3 million cable-TV connections, 10.7 million prepaid cell-phone connections, 1.78 million post-pay cell-phone connections and 2,300 cell-phone-tower antennas.

Commenting on the results, UNE-EPM President Marcelo Cataldo noted an unusual jump in demand for internet services in 2020, peaking at a 50% hike. Similarly, 70% of company employees switched to working from home rather than in corporate offices during the pandemic.

Having won a 700-MHz spectrum auction in Colombia in December 2019, UNE-EPM embarked upon a nationwide upgrade to cell-phone-tower antennas, bringing high-speed “LTE” coverage to customers in an area including about 10,000 square kilometers, he said.

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