MIC notes 21.6% profit growth, plans greater spending on 3G

8 Feb 2012

Millicom International Celular (MIC) has announced its group results for the three months and twelve months ended 31 December 2011, noting a 10.1% year-on-year increase in revenue for the final quarter of 2011, to USD1.177 billion whilst revenue for the full year increased 10.5% y-o-y to USD4.530 billion. Meanwhile, the group’s EBITDA for the quarter and year grew by 7.3% and 7.5% y-o-y to USD536 million and USD2.087 billion respectively, though EBITDA margins fell to 45.5% for Q4 2011 from 46.5% in the same period the previous year. MIC’s EBITDA margin for the full year also slipped, falling from 47.2% in 2010 to 46.1% in 2011. Despite a 45.6% y-o-y increase to USD396 million in CAPEX for the quarter, net profit for the three-month period increased to USD176 million, compared to USD170 million twelve months earlier. Net profit for the full year increased by 21.6%, rising to USD738 million from USD607 million in 2010.

In terms of its regional operations, MIC’s Central American operations saw an increase in wireless subscribers to 14.6 million, with Guatemala noting the largest growth, adding 258,000 customers in the three months. However, ARPU for the region fell by 2% y-o-y. MIC’s cable operations in the region noted an increase in RGUs, up to 721,000 from 707,000 the previous quarter, with a corresponding increase in revenue to USD69 million, up 6.2% quarter-on-quarter.

In South America, MIC reported a total of 11.2 million wireless subscribers, up from 10.1 million a year earlier. On the back of increasing popularity of 3G services, monthly ARPU rose by 5% y-o-y to USD13.4, with the company noting that non-SMS value added services made up 54% of the recurring revenue for the region. Africa meanwhile saw 16% y-o-y growth in wireless subscribers, the group ending the year with 17.3 million mobile customers across its African operations. ARPU continued to fall in the region, though the decline (in local currency) slowed from 10% to 5% q-o-q. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, a ban on SMS use during the election period led to a decrease in earnings, and the loss of 93,000 subscribers in Q4 2011.

Looking forward, MIC claims to have reinvested some 17% of its African revenues in the development of 3G services in the region, and expects that level of investment to continue. Indeed in the Americas, MIC invested USD250 million on 3G networks in 2011, and intends to increase spending there by a further 50% in the coming year. In Colombia, MIC intends to participate in the auction for 4G spectrum with a view to rolling out a Long Term Evolution (LTE) network in the country. The group’s long term guidance remains unchanged, intending to maintain an EBITDA margin in the mid-40s, CAPEX at or below 20% of revenues, and operating free cash flow of around 20% of CAPEX.

Luxembourg, Millicom International Cellular (MIC)