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i-CABLE Communications Limited - 500 Beiträge pro Seite

ISIN: HK1097008929 | WKN: 929341
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Profile:i-CABLE Communications Limited, based in Hong Kong, is a fully integrated communications company that owns and operates a telecommunications network; creates its own multimedia content; and offers pay-television and Internet access and content services. The i-CABLE network is a two-way interactive network that allows high-speed transmission of data and voice, as well as video. The Company has over 200,000 dial-up service subscribers. i-cable.com is a multimedia portal by which the latest news and sports events are broadcast online with content derived from its pay-television programming. The Company`s Pay Television service is operated by Hong Kong Cable, a wholly owned subsidiary. Hong Kong Cable served over 540,000 pay-television subscribers at August 2001, operating 31 channels and producing over 10,000 hours of programming a year.



http://www.i-cablecomm.com


-CABLE COMMUNICATIONS LIMITED 2002 FINAL RESULTS ANNOUNCEMENT
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26% Increase in Operating Profit despite a Weak Market



Results Highlights




Turnover increased by 12% to HK$2,161 million (2001: HK$1,931 million) against a backdrop of a weak economy and poor consumer sentiments.


EBITDA increased by 19% to HK$731 million (2001: HK$614 million). EBITDA margin improved by 2 percentage points to 34%.


Operating profit increased by 26% to HK$226 million (2001: HK$180 million). Operating profit margin improved by 1 percentage point to 10%.


Stripping out a one-time impairment provision on venture investments of HK$73 million, recurrent net profit increased by 14% to HK$190 million (2001: HK$167 million).


Capital expenditure declined by 11% to HK$559 million (2001: HK$626 million).


Final dividend of 1.5 cents per share recommended to make total dividend of 3.0 cents per share for the full year (2001: 2.5 cents).



Pay TV




Subscribers grew by 8% to surpass 605,000 at the end of the year (2001: 560,000).


Turnover increased by 7% to HK$1,711 million (2001: HK$1,595 million).


Effective anti-piracy measures helped to ease churn to 1.6% (2001: 1.8%) per month.


Operating profit decreased by 5% to HK$332 million (2001: HK$349 million) primarily due to non-recurring World Cup programming costs.



Internet & Multimedia




Broadband subscribers grew by 42% to surpass 225,000 (2001: 160,000).


ARPU declined by 20% to HK$180 (2001: HK$224) because of an aggressive pricing strategy to maintain subscriber growth momentum.


Turnover grew by 34% to HK$450 million (2001: HK$336 million).


EBITDA increased by 125% to HK$210 million (2001: HK$94 million) with an operating profit of HK$9 million (2001: operating loss of HK$50 million).



GROUP RESULTS

The audited Group profit attributable to Shareholders for the year ended December 31, 2002 amounted to HK$117 million (2001: HK$167 million). Basic and diluted earnings per share were both 5.8 cents (2001: 8.3 cents).



DIVIDENDS

An interim dividend in respect of the year ended December 31, 2002 of 1.5 cents per share was paid on October 23, 2002, absorbing a total amount of HK$30 million (2001-Nil). The Directors have recommended the payment of a final dividend in respect of the year ended December 31, 2002 of 1.5 cents (2001-2.5 cents) per share, absorbing a total amount of HK$30 million (2001-HK$50 million). If this recommendation is approved, the total dividend for the year 2002 would amount to 3.0 cents (2001: 2.5 cents) per share.




AUDITED CONSOLIDATED PROFIT AND LOSS ACCOUNT

FOR THE YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2002




NOTES TO THE ACCOUNTS



(1)Segment information

Substantially all the activities of the Group are based in Hong Kong and below is an analysis of the Group¡¦s turnover and operating profit by principal activity:





(2)Profit before taxation





(3)Taxation

The provision for Hong Kong Profits Tax was calculated separately on the taxable profit of each entity within the Group at the rate of 16% (2001:16%). The taxation charge for the year ended December 31, 2002 represents:






(4)Earnings per share
The calculation of basic earnings per share was based on the profit attributable to shareholders of HK$117 million (2001: HK$167 million) and the weighted average number of ordinary shares in issue during the year of 2,016,284,165 (2001: 2,014,000,000).
The calculation of diluted earnings per share was based on the weighted average number of ordinary shares of 2,026,931,374 (2001: 2,022,501,763) after adjusting for the effects of all dilutive potential ordinary shares. The potential issue of ordinary shares in connection with the Company`s convertible bonds would not give rise to a decrease in earnings per share and therefore had no dilutive effect on the calculation of diluted earnings per share.


MANAGEMENT`S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS

A.Review of 2002 Operating Results

The Group continued to achieve double digit percentage growth in total Pay TV and broadband subscribers (16%), turnover (12%) and net profit before investment provision (14%) year-on-year against a backdrop of a weak economy and poor consumer sentiments.

Consolidated turnover increased by 12% to HK$2,161 million. Pay TV turnover grew by 7% to HK$1,711 million due to increases in both subscription and airtime sales revenues. Internet & Multimedia turnover increased by 34% to HK$450 million as the growth in Broadband subscribers was partly offset by a fall in ARPU. The Internet & Multimedia segment`s share of total turnover rose to 21% in 2002 as compared to 17% in 2001.

Operating costs before depreciation increased by 9% to HK$1,430 million. The increase was attributable to higher programming costs which grew by 22% or HK$130 million primarily due to costs related to the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Network and other operating costs decreased 4% to HK$351 million, with lower international bandwidth costs partly offset by higher customer service costs. Selling, general and administrative expenses decreased by 1% to HK$347 million due mainly to lower marketing and overhead costs.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization or EBITDA rose by 19% to HK$731 million while EBITDA margin increased to 34% from 32% in 2001.

Depreciation increased by 16% to HK$504 million due mainly to capital investments in digital set-top boxes, Digital News Centre, cable modems and related network equipment. Operating profit improved by HK$47 million to reach HK$226 million.

Interest income dropped by 55% or HK$32 million year-on-year due to the low interest rate environment and a significant reduction in surplus funds after the early redemption of HK$1,500 million of convertible bonds in October 2002. Finance costs also decreased by HK$10 million due to the early convertible bond redemption.

Net profit before investment provision grew by 14% to HK$190 million from HK$167 million in the previous year.

The Group made a provision of HK$73 million for impairment of its venture investments in the technology sector out of a total investment cost of HK$93 million. The provision is expected to be one-off and has no impact on the Group`s operations or cash flows. Following this provision, the net amount standing in the Group`s balance sheet representing venture investments was HK$21 million.

Net profit attributable to shareholders for 2002 was HK$117 million, after the above impairment provision.

Basic earnings per share were 5.8 cents as compared to 8.3 cents in 2001.

B. Segmental Information

Pay Television

Turnover rose by 7% to HK$1,711 million, reflecting an 8% growth of subscribers in 2002 to surpass 605,000 and higher airtime sales revenues as a result of World Cup. Churn rate dropped to 1.6% per month from 1.8% per month in 2001 with the positive impact from the Group¡¦s anti-piracy initiatives, while ARPU increased by HK$1 to HK$233 per month. EBITDA declined slightly by HK$6 million to HK$629 million while operating profit dropped 5% to HK$332 million in 2002 primarily due to higher programming costs resulting from the 2002 FIFA World Cup.


Internet & Multimedia

Internet and Multimedia turnover grew by 34% to HK$450 million as Broadband subscribers rose by 42% to surpass 225,000. ARPU declined by 20% to HK$180 due to aggressive pricing strategy to maintain subscriber growth momentum under a competitive operating environment. EBITDA increased by 125% to HK$210 million due to increase in turnover and stable operating costs. Operating profit of HK$9 million was achieved as compared to HK$50 million loss for 2001.

C. Liquidity and Financial Resources

In October 2002, the Group made an early redemption of HK$1,500 million of its HK$1,800 million convertible bonds to reduce its net financing cost. The repayment was financed primarily by the Group`s surplus cash whose average yield was less than 2% per annum, far below the 4% per annum interest payable on the fixed rate convertible bonds. The Group has also arranged HK$800 million in short term bank credit facilities to enhance its liquidity position.

The Group`s net debt position as at December 31, 2002 was HK$196 million, being HK$386 million of bank loans, HK$300 million of convertible bonds bearing a fixed interest rate of 4% due to be repaid in November 2003, offset by deposits with financial institutions, investment in debt securities and, cash and bank balances. The ratio of net debt to total assets as at December 31, 2002 was 7%. The consolidated net asset value of the Group as at December 31, 2002 was HK$1,512 million, or HK$0.75 per share.

Capital expenditure for the year amounted to HK$559 million as compared to HK$626 million in the previous year. Major items included investments on digital set-top boxes and cable modems and related equipment, and network expansion. These items are expected to continue to be the major areas of capital expenditure for the Group in 2003.

The Group is comfortable with its present financial and liquidity position. Cash to be generated from the Group`s operations and funds available from external sources are expected to be adequate to fund known upcoming capital expenditures and working capital requirements.

D. Contingent liabilities

At December 31, 2002, there were contingent liabilities in respect of guarantees, indemnities and letters of awareness given by the Company on behalf of subsidiaries relating to overdraft and guarantee facilities of banks of up to HK$19 million of which only HK$7 million was utilised by the subsidiaries.

The Group is in discussion with the Inland Revenue Department regarding the deductibility of certain interest payments claimed in previous years` tax computations with estimated maximum net exposure to the Group of HK$35 million at December 31, 2002. The outcome of the discussion is uncertain but management is of the view that there are ample grounds to support the deductibility of the interest expenses.

E. Human Resources

The Group had a total of 2,641 employees at the end of the year. Total salaries and related costs incurred in 2002 amounted to HK$722 million.

To continuously increase the overall calibre of the organization and strengthen the "pay-for-performance" culture, we reengineered our performance management, compensation and reward programs at the beginning of the year. A portion of each employee`s compensation is tied to the Group`s overall results, the respective unit`s achievements and the individual`s performance. The Group also operates an Employee Share Option Scheme.


F. Operating Environment and Competition

The operating environment will continue to be difficult with new players entering the market and no immediate signs of an economic recovery.

In the Pay TV segment, TVB announced in February the divestiture of its stake in Galaxy to below 50%, thereby clearing a regulatory hurdle precedent to Galaxy`s launch of a Pay TV service, which is generally expected before the end of this year. Yes TV, meanwhile, has been granted a one-year extension to meet the capital investment commitment under its licence. While these developments have yet to show significant real impact on the Pay TV market, the Group has started to sharpen its competitiveness on all fronts to respond to market changes.

In the Broadband segment, the Group pre-empted the competition with an aggressive marketing strategy. As a result of that, short-term margin was sacrificed in favour of long-term market share gain. This slowed the pace of growth of this segment as a revenue engine.

G. Prospects

2002 was a challenging year for Hong Kong and therefore for the Group. Nevertheless, our core businesses demonstrated exceptional capability to perform in a hostile operating environment, thanks to our first or early mover advantage.

The challenge will be even greater this year with no signs of an economic recovery, the uncertainties surrounding the military conflict in the Middle East, the launch of a new Pay Television service and keen Broadband competition.

However, with the proprietary content that the Group has secured, the state-of-the-art production and transmission facilities the Group has built up in the past year, a solid customer base, and experience and infrastructure amassed in the provision of Pay television service, it is ready to face up to these new challenges.

On the Broadband front, the business is built on a very competitive cost structure. With expansion of our service capability, we will continue to compete effectively in a keen market. Furthermore, with the digital content that it has amassed and its ability to deliver live content, the Group is in a good position to become a content provider when 3-G mobile communication service is introduced.

The Group will celebrate its 10th anniversary later this year. In the document that was submitted in September 1992 to support our licence bid, we have committed our service to the community with the motto



"More than just television - a way of Hong Kong life today"


In the past decade, the Group has developed from an eight-channel Pay Television operator into a fully fledged, vertically integrated communications company that provides television and telecommunications services; owns and operates one of the territory`s near universal network; and produces its own content with state-of-the-art digital facilities.

The Group is one of Hong Kong`s leading television service providers and programme producers, consistently commanding over 35% of total viewership in subscribers` homes around the clock; one of Hong Kong`s top five media; the second largest Broadband service provider; and a prominent telecommunications network operator and owner. These achievements demonstrate our tenacity to prevail over a decade of economic recessions, uncertainties and competition.

The solid business foundation that we have built over these years, the active steps that we have taken to constantly improve and the investment that we have made to build for the future will steer us through the current economic difficulties.


COMPLIANCE WITH CODE OF BEST PRACTICE

The Company has complied throughout the financial year with Code of Best Practice as set out in Appendix 14 of the Rules Governing the Listing of Securities (the "Listing Rules") on The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited (the "Stock Exchange"):.


BOOK CLOSURE

The Register of Members of the Company will be closed from Thursday, May 22, 2003 to Thursday, May 29, 2003, both days inclusive, for the purpose of determining shareholders` entitlements to the proposed final dividend.


PUBLICATION OF FURTHER INFORMATION ON THE STOCK EXCHANGE`S WEBSITE

All the financial and other related information of the Company required by paragraphs 45(1) to 45(3) of Appendix 16 of the Listing Rules will be published on the Stock Exchange`s website and the Group`s corporate website www.i-cablecomm.com in due course.


By Order of the Board
Wilson W S Chan
Secretary


Hong Kong, March 18, 2003
AXN Extends Carriage on Hong Kong Cable
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(Hong Kong, 9 July 2003) AXN, Asia`s premiere action-adventure television network, has renewed its exclusive distribution carriage agreement on Hong Kong Cable Television Limited`s (Hong Kong Cable) programming platform.

This renewal ensures that Hong Kong viewers will continue to get the Big Buzz from AXN`s stellar offering of action-adventure programming, which consists of exclusive screenings of the biggest action series (including CSI, CSI Miami, Alias, 24 and Boomtown), blockbuster action movies (such as Charlie`s Angels, Hollow Man), adventure-reality and lifestyle sports (including The Amazing Race, Fear Factor and Eco-Challenge), and the coolest and trendiest anime from Japan (such as Metropolis, Ranma 1/2 and Rave).

Mr. Todd Miller, AXN`s Managing Director, expressed confidence in AXN`s continued success in the territory, saying: "Hong Kong has a legendary association with action entertainment, and we are pleased to continue providing Hong Kong viewers the Buzz through AXN`s unique brand of action-adventure programs, thanks to this important carriage deal with Hong Kong Cable."

Mr. Stephen Ng, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Hong Kong Cable, added, "We are very pleased to continue our association with AXN. It is a reflection of our commitment to quality and choice as we bring our viewers the best in television entertainment. Particularly, AXN is bringing the unique genre of action and adventure programmes, which is the most popular entertainment genre for Hong Kong audiences."




About Hong Kong Cable Television Limited
Hong Kong Cable Television Limited (CABLE TV)is Hong Kong`s leading pay television service provider. It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of i-CABLE Communications Limited which is Hong Kong`s only fully integrated communications company that owns and operates one of the territory`s two near universal telecommunications network; provides pay television and broadband Internet access service, and creates its own multi-media content.

About AXN Asia
AXN Asia is available to more than 31 million households 24-hours daily throughout Asia in Taiwan, India, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Japan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, South Korea, Macau, Papua New Guinea, and in hotels and VIP compounds in China. AXN can also be seen in 40 million cable television households on time-block basis in China. AXN channels operate in Spain, Israel and Latin America, and will continue to launch more channels worldwide. More information about AXN Asia can be found online at http://www.axn-asia.com.

AXN is a Sony Pictures Entertainment company. Sony Pictures` global operations encompass motion picture production and distribution, television programming and syndication, home video acquisition and distribution, operation of studio facilities, development of new entertainment technologies and distribution of filmed entertainment in 67 countries worldwide. Sony Pictures Entertainment can be found on the World Wide Web at http://www.spe.sony.com
Hong Kong Cable to Launch Asia Plus
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(Hong Kong - July 16, 2003) Hong Kong Cable Television Limited (CABLE TV) and Asia Plus Broadcasting Limited jointly announced today that Hong Kong Cable will exclusively carry Asia Plus Broadcasting(Asia Plus) on its digital television platform channel 51 starting from August 1, bringing colorful and exciting infotainment programmes to Hong Kong viewers.

Asia Plus is a 24-hour infotainment channel. Its programming covers dramas, entertainment news, music videos and musical performances, lifestyle and fashion, technology as well as educational programmes. Its flagship programmes such as "Swallow Time", "Azio Entertainment Network" and "Tao`s Show" are getting very popular to viewers. Through it`s comprehensive and diverse programming, Asia Plus will broaden the horizons of Hong Kong viewers on enjoying entertainment programmes.

Mr. Eric Lo, Executive Director, Cable Subscription Services of CABLE TV, said the carriage agreement is definitely good news for subscribers. "We are very delighted to have reached an agreement with Asia Plus to bring its comprehensive entertainment programmes to Hong Kong. Indeed, we have been keeping a close and good relationship with Asia Plus in recent years. Many of its dramas and variety programmes are broadcast on CABLE TV and are very popular in Hong Kong. Thus, Asia Plus will definitely become valuable additions to our infotainment programming platform, and also enhance the programming choices for our subscribers," he added.

The Chairman of Asia Plus Broadcasting Limited, Ms Kow Fu-hong said, "Based on abundant and creative production experience, together with advanced technology, Asia Plus aims to provide quality entertainment programmes with new-style to the Chinese-speaking community all over the world. Thus, the agreement with CABLE TV is an important step to realize our mission. We wish our programmes will share with Hong Kong viewers Taiwanese entertainment culture and information."




Hong Kong Cable Television Limited

Hong Kong Cable Television Limited is Hong Kong`s leading pay television service provider. It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of i-CABLE Communications Limited which is Hong Kong`s only fully integrated communications company that owns and operates one of the territory`s two near universal telecommunications network; provides pay television and broadband Internet access service, and creates its own multi-media content.

i-CABLE is listed in both the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (Stock code: 1097) and NASDAQ in the US (Symbol: ICAB). i-CABLE is a 79.4% held by The Wharf (Holdings) Limited, which is also listed in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (Stock code: 0004).

Asia Plus Broadcasting Limited

Officially inaugurated on October 1, 2000, Asia Plus Channel provides viewers with information on the newest trends, and takes its viewers into a new era of Chinese language entertainment. Asia Plus operates production centres in major cities across the Asian region. With abundant production experience, Asia Plus produces creative programmes with fresh, fun and lively content.

The programming available on Asia Plus Broadcasting covers a wide variety, including entertainment news, drama, fashion, life-style and musical shows.


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