May 21, 2014 / 9:26 AM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 1-Cable & Wireless Comms steps up network investment

(Adds CEO comments, shares)

By Paul Sandle

LONDON, May 21 (Reuters) - Cable & Wireless Communications said on Wednesday it would step up investment in its networks in the Caribbean and Central America in a bid to return to revenue growth and improve earnings.

The fixed and mobile operator unveiled its new strategy after posting a better-than-expected 5 percent increase in full-year core earnings to $608 million on like-for-like revenue of $1.87 billion, down 1 percent.

The British company said it would increase capital investments by $250 million over the next three years, taking total capex spending to $1.05 billion.

Chief Executive Phil Bentley, who joined C&W from Centrica’s British Gas in January, said the investment would deliver “modest” top line growth, reversing a historical decline, and mid-to-high single digit compound annual growth in earnings.

He said the business was “not operating at its full potential”, and there was room for improvement in areas like customer service and broadband.

Investment will go into mobile, he said, and also into integrating its fixed and mobile networks so customers can seamlessly switch between wifi and superfast 4G mobile.

“We will put more money in the networks that talk to each other, the fixed and the mobile, so we can direct customers to the best experience,” he said in an interview.

C&W has sold off operations in territories such as Macau and the Channel Islands. The final stage of its disposal programme, Monaco, completed on Tuesday, providing $445 million of extra cash for investment.

Shares in C&W were broadly flat at 54.3 pence at 0920 GMT. (editing by Kate Holton)

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