BTLís Profits Went Up
BTL held it's annual general meeting last week Thursday - and though we weren't invited for the first time in, literally, decades - the company made up last night by having a press conference at its flagship store on Regent Street. We found them in deep self congratulation and taking victory laps in a year that saw profits increase:...
Jules Vasquez reporting
Like the breathless promotion video they put on display for us- to hear these senior managers tell it - BTL is on a roll like never before:
Rocus Schriber, CEO - BTL
"This fiscal year was very successful for us. We completed the destination greatness strategy execution. Under the destination greatness, we built a submarine network that connected San Pedro to the mainland. We significantly expanded our mobile network and we started to roll out our fiber to the home, which is unique because this is the only country in Central America that is building fiber to the home network across the entire country of Belize. Now, we are transitioning into going behind strategy that will build on top of the foundation that was delivered by the destination greatness."
And while that feel-good corporate speak is good for power point presentations, all shareholders care about is the company's profits, which had been dipping slightly for the past few years.
Ivan Tesecum- CFO, BTL
"This year for BTL was a record year. Yes, a record year in gross revenues as we hit the largest revenues for BTL ever in the history, at $159 million. That was a growth of $2.1 million or 1.3% increase. But more importantly, the bottom-line saw an increase of 10% over last year to $22.5 million or an increase of about $2 million. When we looked then at the areas, where did we grow, how did the company make its largest revenue ever, one area that we looked at is internet. And this is very outstanding. The reason for that is that last year we had reported a decrease in terms of internet revenues and this year we are reporting an increase of 1.5, so we have swung that around. And that has been mainly due to the fiber to the home expansion."
And while internet sales are robust, what most consumers care about is customer service, which has been the company's Achilles heel.
Zellie Tillett- Chief Customer Service Officer
"We had 91% of our first contact resolution for our customers. What does that mean for the customer care team? We actually were able to, every time our customers interacted with us, either by the stores or via the contact center, we were able to resolve it for them without escalating it to tear 1 or tear 2. I am talking about millions of interaction; more than two, closer to three million interactions. The customer care team was able to resolve them."
Ivan Tesecum- CFO, BTL
"Really what is happening is that the replacement of copper by the fiber network is making us much more efficient from a service operations stand point because we see the cost being decreased, the truck roll outs are decreasing and so now our folks, instead of trying to maintain a dated and aged copper network are focusing on installing new customers and bringing value to customers."
And, according to the company, schools and the Southside will soon start to see the benefits of that.
Anaceli Perdomo- GM, Service Operations, BTL
"BTL has been providing schools with the maximum of 8 megabytes. Now, with our new Diginet network, we will be giving 200 megabytes to schools."
Melanie Blake- Commercial Opérations Manager
"In July of 2017 BTL launched its first of its kind world class fiber infrastructure in San Pedro. Later on, we deployed in North side Belize City, Ladyville, Orange Walk, Corozal, San Ignacio, Placencia, Benque, and I am so happy to say that this month we are going to deploy Diginet in south side Belize."
And, in a shift, the company no longer looks to the past as a reference for success; it is hitching its plans to a floating point in an unforeseeable future - especially when it comes to the $96 million dollar investment in a national fiber optic broadband network.
Rocus Schriber- CEO, BTL
"You cannot look at this investment and apply the past. You have to look at this investment and see where it will take you, what opportunities this investment will unlock for Belize, what future this will deliver for all Belizeans in the country."
BTL also paid shareholders a modest increase in dividends.