Proximus Group Q3 results: EBITDA +3.3% YoY; EUR 0.50 Interim dividend per share

  • Solid financial and operational performance from Fixed and Mobile services
  • Underlying Group EBITDA +3.3% Year over Year
  • Sound Free Cash Flow generation in the third quarter resulting end-September in Free Cash Flow of EUR 522 million
  • Interim dividend of EUR 0.50 per share to be paid on 11 December 2015
  • Positive revision of full-year underlying Group EBITDA guidance to a 4% to 5% growth

BRUSSELS, 2-11-2015 — /EuropaWire/ — Solid operational trend confirmed in third quarter, with best mobile quarter so far in 2015

In the third quarter 2015, the Proximus Group continued to grow its customer base for the two main brands Proximus and Scarlet, achieving for mobile the best quarter so far in 2015.

  • +146,000 Mobile cards, bringing the total Mobile customer base end-September to 5,882,0001
    • + 41,000 Mobile Postpaid Voice cards
    • +141,000 M2M & Internet Everywhere and
    • -36,000 Mobile Prepaid cards
  • + 23,0002 TV subscriptions, increasing the total TV customer base to 1,716,000
  • + 15,000 Fixed Internet lines, increasing the total Internet customer base to 1,828,000
  • – 22,000 Fixed Voice lines, leading to a total of 2,800,000 lines
  • +10,000 3- & 4-Play households and small offices, for a total of 1,171,000, i.e. 42% of the total customer base
  • Households and small offices taking both Fixed and Mobile services grew to 55.3% (+2.8 p.p. vs previous year)

Another set of strong financials enables upward revised guidance

In the third quarter of 2015, the Proximus Group generated underlying revenue of EUR 1,509 million, an increase of 2.5% compared to the third quarter of 2014. This resulted from:

  • a sustained growth in Proximus’ Core3 revenue, up by 2.4% to EUR 1,088 million, driven by the solid revenue generation from Fixed Internet, TV, ICT and Mobile services, in part offset by lower revenue from low-margin Mobile devices in the third quarter.
  • a 2.5% revenue growth from BICS to EUR 420 million for the third quarter, driven by a continued solid growth in non-Voice revenue.

The Proximus Group posted a 2.9% Direct Margin growth, totaling EUR 917 million for the third quarter 2015. This resulted from a repeatedly improving Direct Margin from Proximus’ Core business (+2.1%), and another strong quarter for BICS, which posted a 13.3% Direct Margin increase.

Proximus’ third-quarter 2015 underlying Group EBITDA totaled EUR 447 million, a 3.3% improvement compared to the same period of 2014. Proximus’ Core business posted EUR 406 million EBITDA, a 3.1% increase from the previous year and sequentially improving from the prior two quarters. BICS’ third-quarter 2015 EBITDA was up by 5.7% from the comparable period of 2014.

Proximus’ third-quarter Capex totaled EUR 200 million. Proximus invested in, among others, the expansion of its 4G outdoor and indoor coverage, and the launch of 4G+. The Fixed network was further upgraded, bringing dedicated speeds of at least 70 Mbps to more than one on four of Proximus’ installed Internet base, with an increasing part receiving 100 Mbps.

Over the first nine months of 2015, the Proximus Group posted EUR 522 million of Free Cash flow.

Continued investment in Proximus’ best quality networks and new TV experience

Proximus wants to bring all customers instantly close to what matters to them, anywhere, on any device and whenever it suits them.  It therefore places a high value on an excellent customer experience, both in terms of the usage of its solutions and in the way it interacts with customers. This requires Proximus to maintain the strong pace of investments in its state-of-the-art networks, innovative & convergent solutions and large entertainment offer.

The Fixed network was subject to further improvements, with a continued roll-out of the vectoring technology. By end-September 2015, more than one on four Fixed Internet customers received speeds of at least 70 Mbps, with an increasing part receiving 100 Mbps dedicated and video-quality speed.

Proximus also continued to invest in its mobile network leadership, further extending its outdoor and indoor 4G coverage, reaching 97.8% and 87.2% respectively by end-September 2015.   Besides the large nation- wide 4G footprint, Proximus also offers the best possible mobile surfing experience with an average download speed of 21.4 Mbps on a 4G capable device, which is 25% to 40% faster than competitor networks. Proximus continues to innovate for its customers, and is the first operator in Belgium to have started rolling out 4G+ technology. With an increasing number of compatible devices on the market today, more and more customers will have access to mobile data speeds of up to 225 Mbps.

Proximus also announced the launch of the Mobile Coverage Extender, a simple plug & play solution based on FemtoCell technology. This allows Proximus Fixed Internet customers to always obtain the best mobile calling experience indoors.

Customers can surf the Net without interruption through Smart Wi-Fi, automatic switching between mobile Internet and Wi-Fi on the go through the 1.3 million Proximus Wi-Fi Hotspots in Belgium and 16 million abroad.  Smart Wi-Fi is based on the secure EAP-SIM technology (EAP: Extensible Authentication Protocol), which guarantees the customer safe connectivity.

Proximus accelerated fiber-to-the business and was the first to launch the LoRa™ network, a “Long Range, Low Power”, long-distance radio technology, ideal for connecting objects to the Internet efficiently.  In addition, Proximus was the first in Belgium to propose a unique commercial end-to-end offer for the ‘Internet of Things’ via this new LoRaTM network, promoting the digital economy.

This quarter, Proximus also reinvented its TV experience and started the commercial roll-out of the new Proximus TV interface and the new Proximus TV app. Proximus will gradually deploy the new Proximus TV interface across its entire customer base and replace all outdated decoders on customer premises by summer 2016, so everyone can enjoy the full TV experience. With the launch of the SwipeBox, an innovative and exclusive solution for “swiping” photos, videos and music to the TV screen via a smartphone or tablet, the TV becomes the central screen in people’s homes for sharing their most beautiful holiday snaps, favorite clips or best selfies with family and friends.

The TV experience is made complete thanks to a rich entertainment offer including Video on Demand, a variety of TV Passes, a comprehensive national and international sports offer with the channels 11 and 11+ and the integration of Netflix in the Proximus TV experience. According to the Netflix ISP Speed Index, Proximus offers the highest download speed for Netflix in Belgium, and among the highest in the world.

Dominique Leroy, CEO of Proximus:

“I’m very pleased to see that the execution of our strategy has continued to translate into solid financial and operational achievements.

Our efforts to transform Proximus into a customer-centric company delivering an excellent customer experience are paying off. Over the last year we have taken many initiatives for the benefit of our residential and enterprise customers and our strong focus to continuously improve the customer experience resulted in a sustained growth of our customer base for Fixed Internet, TV and especially Mobile. In the third quarter 2015, we added 41,000 Voice postpaid cards, achieving the best quarter so far. Through the growing customer base for our core Fixed and Mobile products and sound ARPU figures, we achieved good financial progress for our Core business. For the third quarter 2015, we grew the Core underlying EBITDA by 3.1%, further progressing from the prior quarters, while BICS delivered another strong quarter. With these achievements, it is with confidence that we adjust upwards our full-year guidance for the Group underlying EBITDA, which we now expect to grow by 4% to 5%.”

[1] Including Voice and Data Mobile cards sold through CBU. M2M cards in EBU and Mobile cards from the Tango, MVNO and TEC&W segment are included as well.
[2] Corresponds to the total number of set-top boxes. Third-quarter 2015 net adds included 5,000 multiple set-top boxes impacted by cleaning of the decoder installed base.
[3] Core refers to Proximus Group excluding BICS


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SOURCE: Proximus


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