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Superloop records AU$7.2m net loss amid Singapore, Hong Kong expansion

The APAC fibre company has reported a AU$7.2 million net loss on EBITDA of negative AU$5.6 million and revenue of AU$6.99 million as it expands across the region.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Asia-Pacific fibre infrastructure company Superloop has reported its full-year results for the financial year, announcing a net loss of AU$7.2 million, a substantial rise over last year's AU$1.2 million loss due to an increase in building out fibre, datacentres, and submarine cable landing stations across the Asia-Pacific region.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) were negative AU$5.6 million, up from last year's negative AU$3.55 million, while Superloop recorded its first revenue of AU$6.99 million for the year.

Net assets were AU$119.7 million, up 122.5 percent year on year from AU$53.8 million, while cash and cash equivalents stood at AU$45.9 million, up 155 percent from AU$18 million, as of June 30.

Opex amounted to AU$7.67 million for FY16.

"Superloop is well positioned to benefit from the growth in transmission and storage of data, including increased bandwidth requirements from the rise in cloud computing, video on demand, and the increase in internet-connected devices," Superloop founder and interim CEO Bevan Slattery said.

"The Asia-Pacific region is predicted to overtake North America as the largest generator of cloud traffic in the world, and Hong Kong and Singapore have become the established hubs for datacentres and international submarine cable capacity in the region.

"With expanding networks in place across Australia, Singapore, and Hong Kong, the group will have established a platform to leverage its core infrastructure assets and drive further growth and customer acquisitions."

Over the year, 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.

Its average fibre cores number 288 in Australia, 624 in Singapore, and 2,000 in Hong Kong.

"In Singapore, we are adding strategic locations to the network, including the Singapore Exchange, iO, and NTT datacentres, with pre-committed orders ensuring the expanded loop will be profitable and will generate high annual gross yield at very low utilisation levels," Slattery said, adding that since Superloop owns a duct network with spare capacity there, it can install additional fibre cables at a low cost.

Slattery said construction of the Hong Kong network will be finished by December, with the TKO Express submarine cable to be completed by January 2017.

"The initial network of 110 kilometres will connect the first 30 strategic datacentre and enterprise buildings," Slattery said.

"Our network traverses the major business, financial, and technology districts of Hong Kong, and will be significantly enhanced when Superloop completes TKO Express, our new domestic submarine cable providing the most direct and lowest-latency path between our core network in the datacentre campuses of Chai Wan (on Hong Kong Island) and Tseung Kwan O Industrial Estate tech hub on the mainland.

"TKO Industrial Estate is the new major hub for financial, media, technology, and datacentre companies in Hong Kong, with 13 datacentres existing or under construction, including the Hong Kong Stock Exchange datacentre. TKO is also becoming a major hub for submarine cable landing stations direct access to international internet connectivity."

Superloop announced in early December that it had entered an agreement to construct and run the fibre-optic network in Hong Kong, to which it holds a 25-year indefeasible right of use, with two five-year options to extend.

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

Superloop also provided updates on its recent acquisitions of broadcast media network Cinenet Systems for AU$3 million and small Brisbane-based internet service provider (ISP) APEXN for AU$5.8 million.

"The acquisition of Cinenet Systems has provided Superloop an opportunity to quickly extend our network capabilities into the fast-growing digital media vertical, bringing a specialised high-speed network that interconnects media businesses in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, and Los Angeles via dedicated international capacity," Superloop said.

"Cinenet expands our customer base to include a broad portfolio of screen and broadcast media customers, and provides a platform for further expansion into the vertical across the Asia-Pacific region."

Cinenet, established in 2003, owns a high-speed broadband network specifically for use by the broadcast and media industry, which will provide Superloop with an avenue to enter the media industry and the US market.

"The acquisition of APEXnetworks has allowed Superloop to rapidly deploy a managed services capability for our wholesale and channel customers via APEXN's IT and product platforms. APEXN's platform incorporates service qualification tools as well as systems to manage ordering, provisioning, billing, support, and network management," the company added.

"This platform becomes more valuable as Superloop extends its operations further across Singapore and Hong Kong."

In June, 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.

In February, Superloop recorded a net loss of AU$3.98 million for the first half of the 2016 financial year on revenue of AU$1.94 million and EBITDA of negative AU$3.51 million.

Superloop was founded by Slattery in 2014, and listed on the Australian Securities Exchange in June 2015 after a successful initial public offering that raised AU$17.5 million through more than 2,300 investors.

The company was created when Megaport's fibre assets were spun off so that Megaport could return its focus to expanding its layer 2 elastic connectivity platform outside of Asia and Australia.

Megaport last week announced a net loss after tax of AU$21.35 million on revenue of AU$2.68 million.

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