Proximus Group financial results – First quarter 2022

Proximus kicks off 2022 with solid commercial performances and good financial results; full-year guidance reiterated

  • Robust commercial quarter: +38,000 Mobile Postpaid, +15,000 Internet, and +11,000 TV subscriptions.
  • Fiber strategy reaching scale: 909,000 Homes and Businesses passed, 170,000 activated Fiber lines.
  • Proximus delivers topline growth across all segments with group revenue of EUR 1,404 million, +2.7%.
  • Domestic revenue +1.2% to EUR 1,097 million, +2.2% excluding low-margin Terminals revenue.
  • Internationally, TeleSign and BICS posted revenue growth of +30.9% and 4.5% respectively.
  • Value management & cost efficiency program mitigate inflation effects in Q1.
  • Underlying Group EBITDA of EUR 448 million, +0.4%.
  • Reiterating 2022 guidance on all metrics.

Highlights Q1 2022

Keeping a strong commercial momentum and reiterating full-year guidance.

The first months of this year have brought massive disruption – and sadness – across the world. Since some months now, a massive war is happening on our continent, devastating Ukrainian families, and deeply touching all of us. As highlighted by the numerous solidarity efforts observed across the world, this dramatic situation has left no one unaffected. We decided to help where we could, with Proximus taking up its societal role by launching a series of actions to support the Ukrainian people: providing free calls and SMS to and from Ukraine for our customers; distributing pre-paid cards to refugees with data, unlimited calls and SMS in Belgium; or providing buildings to accommodate Ukrainian families in the next months.

This war has also impacted the conditions in which Proximus operates, accentuating the steep inflation trend and further impacting global supply chains, which were already fragile after the Covid crisis. Nonetheless, over the first three months of 2022, we have kept our focus, as highlighted by a series of achievements. On the network side, we have further pushed our fiber rollout, now being deployed in 50 cities across the country. Our Fiber technology is now passing 909.000 homes and businesses, and we are confident to reach the symbolic 1 million milestone in June, keeping us fully on track to reach our ambition of 22% coverage of the country by the end of this year.

On the commercial side, I am also pleased with our performance in the first quarter of 2022, at both domestic and international levels. Our main Domestic customer bases continued their healthy growth, with net additions of 15,000 Internet and 11,000 TV subscriptions as well as 38,000 Postpaid sim cards. Our Residential convergent base continued its growth trajectory, adding 15,000 customers over the first quarter of 2022. Furthermore, we see good progress regarding our fiber uptake with our Residential and Business units having activated an additional 25,000 fiber lines, bringing the total to 170,000 by end-March 2022.

We also introduced new products that will help fuel our growth over the coming months. Scarlet, our price-seeker provider, launched a new triple play pack, combining Internet, TV and a mobile subscription, for a monthly subscription of EUR 50, the lowest price in Belgium. I am happy to share that all Mobile Vikings customers have now switched to the Proximus network, allowing them to benefit from the best mobile network in Belgium, and bringing, as of April, the anticipated cost synergies for the Proximus Group.

Proximus’ Business Unit has been affected by the global supply shortages but has nonetheless shown good progress on its transformation journey, with revenue from IT services growing by 2.0%, with especially a strong performance in Cloud and Security services.

Turning to our international segments, our two subsidiaries BICS and TeleSign both posted good results for the first three months of 2022. BICS closed the quarter with a very strong performance, increasing its EBITDA by 18.6% compared to the same period last year. Growing revenue in Core services led to a higher margin, because of an incremental recovery in world-wide travel, which drove strong volumes in messaging and roaming. Furthermore, BICS achieved significant progress in its Growth services, thanks to a strong performance in cloud offers, for which it onboarded major new enterprise customers.

TeleSign has delivered a first-quarter financial performance in line with its previously disclosed targets, with a strong revenue increase driven by healthy volume growth. Based on a strong sales pipeline and the launch of several new products within the Identity suite, we expect the momentum to continue. In a tough setting with markets affected by rising geo-political tensions, TeleSign’s listing process is following its course, with targeted closure in the second quarter. We remain fully committed to bringing TeleSign to the public market.

Finally, we also progressed on our Group transformation. First, we reached a major milestone with the launch of Proximus Ada, a new center of excellence dedicated to the fields of artificial intelligence and cybersecurity. The expertise of this fully owned subsidiary will serve all entities of the Proximus Group by providing innovative solutions across multiple sectors.

Second, on digital innovation, we progressed well thanks to the signing of a strategic collaboration between our teleconsultation app Doktr and major actors of the ecosystem: the doctors’ association Domus Medica, and the health insurance funds CM and Solidaris. Finally, from an internal perspective, we made very concrete progress towards our objective to create, for our employees, a sustainable and inspiring digital campus through the binding agreement with Immobel for the redevelopment of Proximus’ headquarters. Proximus acquired rights and gave commitments to dispose of property, plant and equipment for approximately EUR 143 million, in that case followed by a lease-back of part of the renovated building with a significant contribution of EUR 20 million of Immobel in the fit-out and multiple months of free lease.

To conclude, I am overall very pleased with our achievements over the first three months of the year: progressing on our strategy while delivering financial results in line with our expectations, allowing us to reiterate our full-year guidance for 2022.

Q1 key figures

Operationals, in thousands

    Net adds in the quarter Park at end of quarter
    2021 2022 2021 2022 %
Fiber Homes Passed 73 95 533 909 70.6 %
Activated retail lines 13 25 96 170 76.8 %
Residential customers Convergent 20 15 953 1,011 6.1 %
Group (subscriptions/SIM cards) Internet 12 15 2,148 2,193 2.1 %
TV 13 11 1,690 1,732 2.5 %
Fixed Voice -65 -53 2,148 1,951 -9.2 %
Mobile Postpaid (excl. M2M) 37 38 4,301 4,689 9.0 %
M2M 173 182 2,539 3,547 39.7 %
Prepaid -22 -25 596 664 11.5 %

Financials, in million EUR

    Q1 2021 Q1 2022 % Change
Revenue (underlying) Group 1,367 1,404 2.7 %
Domestic 1,084 1,097 1.2 %
BICS 235 245 4.5 %
TeleSign 77 100 30.9 %
Direct Margin (underlying) Group 894 917 2.6 %
Domestic 825 836 1.4 %
BICS 53 60 11.6 %
TeleSign 18 24 31.3 %
Expenses (underlying) Group -448 -469 4.7 %
Domestic -407 -417 2.4 %
BICS -31 -33 6.5 %
TeleSign -13 -22 74.8 %
Ebitda (underlying) Group 446 448 0.4 %
as % of revenue 32.6 % 31.9 % -0.7 p.p.
Domestic 418 419 0.3 %
BICS 22 27 18.6 %
TeleSign 6 2 -63.0 %
Group Ebitda (reported)   460 465 1.1 %
Net income   123 120 -2.4 %
Accrued capex (excl. spectrum
& football rights)
  225 270 19.7 %
Free Cash Flow
(adjusted)
  143 33 -76.7 %
Adjusted Net Debt
(excl. lease liabilities)
  -2,431 -2,674 -10.0 %

Notes

  • Group revenue, Direct margin, Operating Expenses and EBITDA include intersegment eliminations
  • Adjusted FCF excludes M&A impacts but includes Fiber equity injections.
  • Mobile Vikings has been included in the Proximus Group consolidated financial statements as a fully consolidated subsidiary since 1 June 2021. This transaction affects the comparability of the figures for the current period with the prior-year figures. Where relevant, the comments in the report refer to the organic variance.
  • The mobile park includes customers acquired on 1 June 2021 related to the acquisition of Mobile Vikings, raising the Mobile Postpaid base by 191,000 and the Prepaid base by 144,000.

Guidance for full-year 2022 reiterated

Based on the first quarter 2022 financial results and the company’s best estimate for the remainder of the year, the guidance for full-year 2022 is reiterated:

Guidance metric FY21
Actuals
FY22
Guidance
Q1'22
YTD Actuals
Underlying Domestic Revenue (excluding terminals) € 4,075M Growing up to 1% YoY +2.2%
Domestic underlying EBITDA € 1,654M Growing up to 1% YoY +0.3%
Underlying Group EBITDA € 1,772M Around -1% YoY +0.4%
Capex (excluding Spectrum & Football rights) € 1,203M Close to € 1.3Bn € 270M
Net debt / EBITDA 1.55X Around 1.6X nr

Shareholder return

The Annual Shareholders’ Meeting of April 2022 approved the return to the Proximus shareholders of gross EUR 1.2 per share. The normal dividend of EUR 0.70 per share is payable on 29 April 2022, with record date on 28 April 2022 and ex-dividend date on 27 April 2022.

Proximus remains committed to an attractive remuneration for its shareholders and intends to return over the result of 2022 an annual gross dividend of € 1.2 per share, in line with Proximus’ announced 3-year dividend policy over the period 2020-2022.

Quarterly report financial files

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