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(Photo: REV)

Cable Bahamas triples digital payments, warns of climate change risk

(Photo: REV)

Cable Bahamas Limited (CBL) grew its revenue in the year ended June 30, 2020, to BS$193 million, up six per cent over June 30, 2019.

The company reported at year end net income of BS$59 million, driven by a BS$109 million profit from the sale of Summit Broadband, which concluded on January 21, 2020, and also improved its cash position from BS$28 million to BS$175 million.

“We provided more options for our customers: pay via phone, online and more locations. We opened three locations with our strategic partner AML Foods Limited, allowing us to pivot and manage cash flows when government emergency orders suspended disconnects, late fees, and reconnect fees.”

— President of Cable Bahamas Limited Franklyn Butler

In the company’s new annual report, the directors point out that despite all of the challenges in the company grew its revenues and subscriber base.

President Franklyn Butler commented, “We did this by being agile. By handling what was thrown at us — [Hurricane] Dorian and COVID-19, and adapting prudently and quickly to ‘the new reality’.”

Chairman Ross McDonald said that with the sale of Summit Broadband completed, “ we are confident in our ability to continue to support our Bahamian operations and to make the required investments in our network, customer experience and drive continued growth in our subscriber base in Aliv, Cable Bahamas Business Solutions, OURTV, and REV.”

Butler outlined that following the advent of COVID-19, “How people work and learn changed dramatically, resulting in a substantial increase in the use of our connections via the applications of Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Webex and others.

“A digital transformation that was pervasive in ways that our country had never imagined possible. We needed to adapt immediately. We did.”

New ways to pay

He said that digital payments rose from 25 per cent to nearly 75 per cent at June 2020.

Butler noted, “We provided more options for our customers: pay via phone, online and more locations. We opened three locations with our strategic partner AML Foods Limited, allowing us to pivot and manage cash flows when government emergency orders suspended disconnects, late fees, and reconnect fees.”

Franklin Butler, president, Cable Bahamas Limited (Photo: EyeWitness News)

Cable Bahamas also partnered with local digital wallets Cash N Go, Mobile Assist, SunCash, and Kanoo to enable more digital payments.

Preparing for the pandemic

Directors note in the report that CBL began pandemic modelling on February 12th, 2020, regarding COVID-19.

“We developed a number of economic scenarios: ranging from moderate to extreme economic impact. We assumed the USA would not develop an effective national response through the fall of 2020 and that likely significant political instability associated with the 2020 presidential election would greatly restrict any tourist visits from America,” the report stated.

“Consequently, we took immediate steps to strengthen our company accordingly. It became apparent to us that [the] collection of payments would be a critical factor in our company’s continued strong financial performance.”

The company  implemented a number of items including an increase in the options for bill payment, “smart” payment collection campaigns driven by big data and analytics, a laser focus on daily payments, a new battery of metrics to provide insight into payment trends/risk and quickly pivot as required and strengthened our payment collections team.

The  efforts has increased payments received by customers by almost 33 per cent (May through August, 2020 vs March and April, 2020).

(Photo: REV)

Consequently, management stated, “our cash position is significantly improved”.

In conclusion the directors noted, “We have assumed vaccine or virus mitigation drugs are not significantly available during our business plan period. We have also assumed no significant economic recovery from COVID-19.”

Added to this was the potential effect of climate change.

Management said it was unclear how the Government of The Bahamas and governments throughout the world will be able to manage risks foreseen, given a lack of political consensus.