May 13, 2021

O2 dials up record profit ahead of Virgin Media merger

UK mobile network O2 has signed off as an independent company ahead of its merger with Virgin Media with a record profit performance. O2 is on the cusp of a £31bn merger with Liberty Global's cable network Virgin Media, a tie-up which is expected to create a more powerful competitor to BT. The company's operating income before depreciation and amortisation rose almost 8 per cent to €547m in the three months to March, despite an 11 per cent decline in revenue to €1.5bn as its shops remained closed. The growth also came despite a 17 per cent rise in capital expenditure as O2 expanded its 5G network. Mark Evans, the outgoing chief executive of O2 who will leave the company once the merger with Virgin Media is complete, said that the rise in profits and staff bonus reflected high levels of customer satisfaction. That has come despite uncertainty over the ownership of the business in recent years as the Spanish company held talks with BT and Three over a sale and also considered a float and private equity investment ahead of the Virgin Media deal.

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