German multi-service operator (MSO) freenet has released its preliminary annual results, indicating a rise in revenue of almost 70% to EUR2.87 billion (USD3.61 billion), compared to EUR1.69 billion in 2007. However, the company’s 2008 earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) decreased by 3.1% to EUR207.1 million, down from EUR213.7 million a year earlier. freenet’s ‘discontinued lines of business’, which include its DSL business (which the company is currently trying to divest) and debitel Nederland, which was sold before the reporting date, made a loss of EUR36.8 million in 2008, improving on its loss of EUR111.9 million a year earlier. freenet said it took provisions in the fourth quarter for restructuring its mobile business, resulting in one-off expenditure of EUR73.5 million for that period.
The freenet group came into being in March 2007 following the merger of wireless operator mobilcom with wireline and internet service provider (ISP) freenet.de. In April 2008 freenet agreed to acquire mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) debitel for EUR1.63 billion including debt. The deal was completed in July 2008 and created Germany’s largest MVNO by a huge margin; at the end of September 2008 freenet had a subscriber base of 19.9 million, up from 5.98 million three months earlier and 5.45 million at the end of September 2007. The company plans to report final results on 26 March 2009.