Belgacom reports commercially strong 2014 first quarter

  • Financial performance in line with company expectations, full-year guidance reiterated
  • Mobile service revenue trend further improving
  • Solid operational performance: Mobile Postpaid, TV & Fixed Internet customer base further growing

Brussels, Belgium, 13-5-2014 — /EuropaWire/ — Solid operational results: Mobile Postpaid, TV & Fixed Internet customer base further growing

Belgacom closed a commercially strong quarter, solidly growing its customer base for mobile postpaid, Belgacom TV and Fixed Internet.

  • + 124,000 Mobile Postpaid cards, of which 66,000 free data cards and M2M; total of 3,859,000, including voice and data mobile cards sold through CBU, EBU, Tango, MVNO and SDE&W segments
  • – 69,000 Mobile Prepaid cards, of which -24,000 Mobisud cards; total of 1,680,000
  • + 30,000 Belgacom TV subscriptions, increasing the total TV customer base to 1,495,000
  • + 16,000 Fixed Internet lines, with a total Internet customer base of 1,694,000
  • – 34,000 Fixed Voice lines, with a total Fixed Voice customer base of 2,902,000

Financial results meet the expectations set

The Belgacom Group generated in the first quarter of 2014 revenue of EUR 1,480 million, i.e. -6.6% year-on-year. As expected, the revenue of Belgacom’s International Carrier Services, BICS, came in significantly below the level of the comparable period in 2013.  Excluding BICS, Belgacom’s core revenue was down 3.9% from the prior year, or -3% when excluding the EUR 11 million capital gain recorded in the first quarter of 2013.

The year-on-year trend in Mobile service revenue, combined from Mobile Voice and Mobile Data, for the Consumer and Enterprise business units further improved.  Over the first quarter 2014, the aggregated Mobile Service revenue was EUR 318 million, or 6.0% lower year-on-year, whereas this was -11.6% for the fourth quarter of 2013.

Belgacom reported for the first quarter 2014 a Group EBITDA, before non-recurring items, of EUR 412 million, 6.6% lower than for the same period of 2013. Excluding one-off effects, this was -5.0%, improving from the prior quarter, which was showing a 8.3% EBITDA decline on a like-for-like basis.

In the first quarter of 2014, Belgacom invested EUR 179 million, EUR 13 million less than in the same period of 2013.  Network and IT investments accelerated as foreseen in Belgacom’s strategy, though they were offset by a positive timing effect of TV-content renewal.

In the first quarter 2014, Belgacom generated EUR 119 million in Free Cash Flow, or EUR 30 million more than for the same period of 2013. This mainly resulted from lower income tax payments, less cash paid for capital expenditure and lower needs in terms of core working capital, partially offset by a lower EBITDA.

Dominique Leroy, CEO of Belgacom:  
“I’m proud to announce a satisfactory first quarter 2014, with a very strong commercial performance and financials in line with our expectations. The solid operational result is thanks to our focusing on Belgacom’s strength: convergent mobile and fixed services, underpinned by high-quality networks.  The benefit from this convergence strategy becomes even more apparent in our new household reporting for the consumer segment: compared to one year ago, an increasing number of households have both fixed and mobile Belgacom products; the overall average revenue per household increased by 3.3%, and the number of 4-play households grew by 16%.

We continued to have good growth in our Internet and TV customer base, leading to a slightly increasing TV market share in all regions.  In mobile too we confirm our resilience in a challenging market. With solid Postpaid net adds for both the Consumer and Business segments, we continued to slightly grow our market share for mobile postpaid.  Belgacom’s prepaid base, on the other hand, declined further, in line with market trends.  Within the mix, however, the rate of decline for our Proximus pre-paid brand continued to improve.

The financial performance of our Consumer and Enterprise segments showed an impact from a shrinking fixed voice business and from the mobile disruption since end-2012, though we are making encouraging progress in the mobile service revenue trend.  We therefore reiterate our revenue and ebitda expectations for the full year 2014, where Telindus France is now separated from our core activities following its divesture.”

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