​Superloop kicks off FY17 with AU$2m first-half loss

Superloop has reported a net loss after tax of AU$2 million on revenue of AU$8.8 million for the first half of the 2017 financial year.

Asia-Pacific fibre infrastructure company Superloop has announced its results for the first half of the 2017 financial year, reporting a net loss after tax of AU$2 million, an improvement on the AU$3.5 million loss recorded for FY2016.

Reported earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) also fell into negative territory for the six-month period, with Superloop returning an EBITDA loss of AU$6.5 million.

Revenue for the first half was AU$8.8 million, which represented a 351 percent increase over the same corresponding period a year prior. Australian operations contributed revenue from customers of AU$7 million for the half-year, which was up from AU$1.7 million reported during the first half of 2016.

"Over the past six months we have established a platform to take advantage of the strong structural growth drivers across the region as we continue to pursue our vision to be a leading independent provider of digital services in the Asia-Pacific region," Superloop executive chairman and CEO Bevan Slattery said.

"Superloop has achieved major milestones in infrastructure development with the launch of the company's network in Hong Kong and expansion of its network in Singapore. We added significant coverage to our Australian network and successfully completed the transformative acquisition of BigAir Group, which we are busy integrating."

Superloop originally announced the acquisition of BigAir in September, revealing plans to combine its fibre assets with the latter's wireless network and capabilities in order to provide a high-speed wholesale alternative to the National Broadband Network (NBN) across outer metro and regional areas in Australia.

The purchase was funded by AU$65 million raised in September, AU$75 million via new revolving debt facility with ANZ bank, and AU$104 million in scrip issued to vendors.

In addition to bringing with it a full suite of connectivity, cloud, and managed services solutions, BigAir adds more than 2,200 customers, over 300 points of presence throughout Australia, additional datacentre locations, and additional installed fibre.

BigAir also owns and operates one of Australia's largest fixed wireless networks, which provides high speed broadband and data services to both the wholesale and enterprise markets, Superlop said.

For the six-month period, BigAir Group contributed AU$2.2 million during the 10 days since December 21, 2016, while the company's Singapore network contributed revenue from customers of AU$1.1 million.

During the six-month period, AU$24.1 million was also invested in the development of fibre infrastructure assets across Australia, Singapore, and Hong Kong, Superloop said.

Earlier this month, Superloop announced it had completed the marine installation of its Hong Kong subsea cable TKO Express, which stretches between Chai Wan on Hong Kong Island and Tseung Kwan O (TKO) Industrial Estate -- the city state's new major hub for technology.

The cable's installation follows Superloop entering an agreement to construct and run the fibre-optic network in Hong Kong, to which it holds a 25-year indefeasible right of use, back in December 2015.

The Superloop (Hong Kong) subsidiary was granted a Unified Carrier Licence by the Hong Kong Office of the Communications Authority in August of that year.

In June last year, Superloop announced that it was hoping to raise AU$35.3 million through a fully underwritten one-for-seven pro-rata accelerated entitlement offer of shares for the purpose of funding its Asian network expansion. The retail component of its entitlement raised AU$22.45 million.

Final project payments for the Hong Kong network and TKO Express submarine cable are expected to be made in the second half of the 2017 financial year.

During the six months to December 2016, Superloop installed over 160 kilometres of fibre, which brought total installed fibre to 540 kilometres. The company also completed installation and testing of the first 110 kilometre backbone fibre cable network for launch of the initial Hong Kong network in December 2016 and connected 16 new enterprise buildings in Singapore, with 30 on-net as of December 31, 2016.

18 new datacentres were also connected across the region, with 70 on-net at the end of the reporting period.

Slattery told shareholders on Tuesday that throughout 2H17 and beyond, additional sites will be added to Superloop's networks to meet customer demand.

Superloop signed a 15-year capacity agreement with Vocus Communications earlier this month, which the company said has expanded its existing Australian network to a national footprint and immediately increased international, inter-capital, regional Ethernet access, and metropolitan fibre capacity.

The deal also minimises Superloop's requirement for significant infrastructure build in what the company called an already competitive Australian market.

For the 2016 financial year, Superloop announced an AU$7.2 million net loss that it attributed to its activities in building out fibre, datacentres, and submarine cable landing stations across the Asia-Pacific region.

During the 12-month period, Superloop installed more than 190km of fibre, connected 15 datacentres and cable landing stations, and connected 19 enterprise buildings. As of June 30, it had 160 active customers, 378km of fibre, 52 active datacentres and cable landing stations, and 22 on-net enterprise buildings.

Looking forward, Superloop said its priorities for the second half of the 2017 financial year include the integration of BigAir to realise cost and revenue synergies.

Superloop will also continue to expand access networks to major commercial buildings in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Australia, and will upgrade and hyperscale its microwave network offering in Australia.

The company also plans to expand BigAir's product suite to Singapore and Hong Kong.