It was one of a trio of high-profile buyouts, which also included takeovers of Telstra Velocity and the acquisition of home internet provider Harbour ISP.
Uniti also reckons it can expand its reach further through a deal with TPG Telecom to supply wholesale services on the latter’s fibre-to-the-basement network.
Dividends on the cards
“It increases our addressable premises and makes our overall network larger and therefore more attractive,” Mr Simmons said.
Uniti reported $64.2 million of free cash flow with its full-year results on Thursday, and will consider paying dividends in future periods.
Revenue nearly tripled to $160.5 million. Net profit almost doubled to $29.2 million.
Mr Simmons described the second half as a “clean six months” as it had not made any acquisitions during the period, and told investors M&A activity was unlikely for the time being.
He said Uniti had weathered the toll from COVID-19 outbreaks in Sydney and Melbourne but warned any slowdown in construction activity – critical for the company as it lays down fibre to new property developments – would probably not eventuate until later in the calendar year.
“We’re on track for July and August,” he said.
Superloop hits cash flow milestone
Uniti’s results clashed with fellow infrastructure-focused telco Superloop, which reported a 34.9 per cent lift in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation to $18.2 million in the 2021 financial year.
While Superloop reported an after-tax loss of $31.9 million, chief executive Paul Tyler was still positive because the company had reached a cash flow breakeven point for the first time.
“The business is starting to generate cash,” Mr Tyler said. “That’s a big milestone for an infrastructure business where we invested pretty heavily to build it. Now, we are in the monetisation phase.”
“We’ve got a balance sheet that is strong now and that gives flexibility.”
Uniti’s and Superloop’s shares travelled in opposite directions in early afternoon trade. Superloop shares were down 4.6 per cent to 93¢, while Uniti shares rocketed up 10 per cent to $4.29.