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#496059 - 09/25/14 06:27 AM B.T.L. Reports Profit Performance – Figures Dismal
Marty Offline

The Annual General Meeting of B.T.L. takes place on Thursday evening at seven o’clock to review the performance of the company over the twelve months to March 2014. As you know, shares in the company were offered to the public by the Government at the end of 2010 to a great fanfare, with promises of growth and performance, and with the Social Security Board investing fifty million dollars of the people’s money to purchase twenty percent of the company.  Well, B.T.L.’s performance has fallen short of the promises made. In this chart, we can see that Revenue has stagnated over this period, with the revenue at one hundred and forty three million dollars being ten percent less than the one hundred and sixty million promised in the sales prospectus. The most marked failure, however, is the profit performance, as shown in this chart. Profit has fallen each year, and is now thirty-eight percent lower than that achieved in 2011, and is fifty percent lower than the profit figure promised in the Share Sale Prospectus in 2010, which was used by Belizeans and the Social Security Board to make their investment decisions.  With the Government having reduced tax rates for B.T.L. and with a reported improvement in the economy, both of which have helped B.T.L., it will be interesting to see how the Government-run company will explain this massive underperformance, and the continued downward spiral.  Still five years after the nationalization, the previous shareholders have not been paid, and it is hard to see how this tarnished jewel is going to help the Government settle that debt, and where the money required is going to come from. 

Channel 5

#496131 - 09/27/14 06:02 AM Re: B.T.L. Reports Profit Performance – Figures Dismal [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

BTL Positioning For The Future, Diminishing Profits In Short Term

Belize Telemedia Limited held its eighth annual general meeting last night at the Biltmore Best Western. The company used one of the biggest conference room in town to welcome its hundreds of small shareholders. But they were also there for an unusually frank and plain spoken wake up call: BTL's profits are falling, and they will continue to do so for at least the next two years. It's part of a larger plan which we found out about last night:..

Nestor Vasquez, Chairman - BTL
"Our strategy for the past 5 years has been about making BTL a better company which provides a better future for Belize and for its shareholders."

Jules Vasquez reporting
Those shareholders got a smaller dividend this year though - and that is based on a downturn in profits - 1.4 million less from 21 million to 19.6 million - comparable to pre nationalization figures:

Nestor Vasquez, Chairman - BTL
"The profit of 19.6 million is almost the same as the profit of the former owners of BTL, what they reported 5 years ago. They reported a profit of 19.8; we reported 19.6. But the figures show that the rates they were charging at that time were more than triple what BTL has been charging to its customers today."

Anwar Barrow, Chairman - BTL Executive Committee
"You've gotten "per second billing." You've gotten "VOIP" which has open up an entire world to the Belizean consumers. You've gotten broadband rates being slashed in half again and now again in October and that will continue to happen. We have been evolving and consumers have benefitted tremendously."

And that is owing as much to changing global market conditions as it is to the duty of a national provider:

Nestor Vasquez, Chairman - BTL
"Nationalization means more than just making profits; it means bettering the company for it to assist the economy."

And while that is a convenient explanation, don't be mistaken these executives are concerned about reduced profits - and in an unusually revealing and candid presentation, Executive Committee Chairman Anwar Barrow said BTL is at a crossroads:

Anwar Barrow, Chairman - BTL Executive Committee
"If we sit down and we do nothing and we don't make the investments that we need to make, and we don't make the cultural changes that we need to make at the company, this is what it looks like: By 2018, thereabouts, we'll be looking at 11 or 12 million dollars in profits if we just sit back and do nothing. So BTL is profitable and relevant today, but in order to stay that way we have to transformed the company."

And transforming means investing tens of millions in expanded infrastructure to, first, create new internet customers:

Anwar Barrow, Chairman - BTL Executive Committee
"And we plan to double our broadband customer base within the next two to three years. That is going to represent about six million dollars in additional revenues."

And the company is looking for even more than that by taking mobile phone customers from SMART:

Anwar Barrow, Chairman - BTL Executive Committee
"Our competitor which has evolved over the last 10 years has taken a portion of that market share and we intend to take back a portion of that market share and add about 10,000 customers over the next two years to our mobile subscriber base which should represent about 7 million dollars in up line revenue. So between those initiatives you are looking at about 13 million dollars in additional revenue and that will allow us to return the company to a twenty plus million dollar a year net income after this two year transformation exercise."

But, that's two years away, right now the company will have to invest - which means a further downturn in profits:

Anwar Barrow, Chairman - BTL Executive Committee
"In the near term our net income is anticipated to be reduced given those 54:00 investments."

Jules Vasquez
"Are you concern that it will create a scare among the shareholders to see that after 2010, in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 the net profit will be on a downward trend?"

Anwar Barrow, Chairman - BTL Executive Committee
"No, because that is why we are preparing and explaining what our plan is. In order to make money and to grow your company you have to invest."

Investing in a future where Barrow says everything will change:

Anwar Barrow, Chairman - BTL Executive Committee
"I'll share something with you in ten years, voice is going to be free, you are only going to be paying for data, so we are going to shift where now we are paying for minutes to talk to where you pay for data and voice and data are going to converge. The voice portion is not going to be charged. You're competing with the vibers with the skypes with the whatapps and all the over the top players, so the market us becoming extremely competitive and it's no longer a legacy market like it used to be before."

And in this gambit the young Barrow is also trying to make his own legacy:

Anwar Barrow, Chairman - BTL Executive Committee
"I feel that we are off to a good start, but the proof is in the pudding and as people may know I am man who delivers, so let's see what I deliver."

But according to the latest survey of bandwidth speeds in the Caribbean, BTL and Internet Service Providers in Belize are not delivering internet speeds comparable to those in the region. Later on we'll ask Executive Committee Chairman Barrow about that.

Channel 7

#496139 - 09/27/14 06:36 AM Re: B.T.L. Reports Profit Performance – Figures Dismal [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Barrow Says Changes are Coming to BTL

The Belize Telemedia Limited hosted its 8th Annual General Meeting last night at the Biltmore Hotel. A special presentation entitled, “A focus on the Future of BTL” was given by the Chairman of BTL’s Executive Committee, Anwar Barrow. Barrow says that one of the company’s goal is to add ten thousands subscribers to its customer’s base in two years.


“The net profit has been up and it has been down. If you look at 2010 we made upwards of $30 million, I think $31 million, and so there have been different reasons for that.  So, we are a profitable company, it is still one of the best investments in Belize and it will continue to be. Now if you look at where we are now and where we were in 2009 a number of things have happened that have benefitted the consumers and shareholders. You’ve gotten per second billing; you’ve gotten VoIP which has opened an entire world to the Belizean consumers. You’ve gotten broadband rates being slashed in half again, again and now again in October and that will continue to happen so we have been evolving and consumers have benefitted tremendously. In order to make money and to grow your company you have to invest, everybody knows that; so, it’s not a matter of being able to harvest what you have done and invest at the same time. You make an investment and then there comes a point where you harvest the returns from that investment and that was what was explained at the AGM tonight and so that is the plan that we have put in place. The climate is fiercely competitive but the business model evolves as the climate evolves and so that is why people are still in the business and they continue to invest in the business to make money but they have to evolve their business model and a lot of what you heard tonight was about our plans to evolve that business model. For example BTL is now employing a strategy where we are allowing a lot of third parties to come in and leverage our network and we act as wholesalers and no longer gate keepers of that network. So if you are an entrepreneur and you want to come in and access BTL’s service and you have a solid game plan, a solid business plan, come in we are open to you, we want you to leverage our network. We will add 10,000 new subscribers to our mobile base over the next two years that is all I will say about that.”


“If I am a Smart user what would be my incentive to switch over?”

“Well you will have a bigger network, better quality and a better value proposition.”


“How did you equate that 10,000 new customers will equal to $7million dollars?”


“Well those are based on internal calculations and looking at what the present customer base yields for us.”


“Now one of the main focus is broadband and data but how do you find that balance with text messages because most of the data that we buy we use it for WhatsApp and Viber and those sort of stuff so where is the balance that they are using regular text message.”


“I will share something with you. In ten years voice is going to be free, you are only going to be paying for data so we are going to shift from where now you are paying for minutes to talk to where you pay for data and voice and data are going to converge. The voice portion is not going to be charged.”


“Now looking at it from a business perspective and taking into consideration the Prime Minister’s pledge of double up the speed at no extra cost is it adequate enough for the company seeing that the net profit is going up and down. Is it adequate looking at it from a business perspective?”


“Well we incorporate those plan into our overall strategy and we stimulate the market with that kind of activity because if people have a better value proposition we have more people who take up that value proposition and so that from a business and an economic stand point makes it viable.”


“How seriously are you considering market and advertisement because I was made to understand that the advertisement bill for the company was reduced but the competitor has been all over the place, it’s a huge factor when it comes to selling the product. How important is that for BTL?”


“Advertising is very important, the advertising budget has not been reduced in fact it’s going to be increased and I think that over the next 12 to 24 months you are going to see a mark stepped up in advertising both the amount of advertising and the quality of the advertising and behind that which is most important, the value proposition to customers.


“Are you able to speak about the customer base and if any has been lost when Smart came on stream and any fluctuations since then.”


“Well there has obviously been market churn Smart is one of our competitors. We do not underestimate them and so yeah.”


“But you lost some customers because of Smart.”


“Most naturally they have been around for ten years and obviously we’ve gone from a monopolistic market to a competitive one so some people have switched to Smart. Some people have switched to Smart and switched back to BTL because they have not been satisfied with the service so those are the dynamics of the market but I think we are going to see a big surge and a big push in the next twelve to twenty-four months.”

For this fiscal year, BTL achieved a return on equity of 7.5%, decreasing from 8.5% in the previous year due to a decrease in profitability over the past year.



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