Telekom Austria Group FY11 revenues drop 4.2%; ‘severe macro-economic headwinds’ blamed for slump

24 Feb 2012

Telekom Austria Group has reported consolidated revenues of EUR4.454 billion (USD3.701 billion) for the twelve months ended 31 December 2011, down 4.2% compared to the EUR4.650 billion generated during 2010. The company blames the slump on ‘severe macro-economic headwinds in most of its major markets, fierce competition and further regulatory cuts of roaming and interconnection tariffs’. However, lower revenues in the Austrian, Bulgarian and Croatian segments were partially mitigated by strong revenue growth from Telekom’s ‘Additional Markets’ (Serbia, Slovenia, Macedonia). Further, in Belarus, a solid operational performance struggled to compensate for the negative impact related to a 63.2% devaluation of the Belarusian ruble and the subsequent classification of Belarus as a ‘hyperinflationary economy’. Meanwhile group EBITDA dropped 7.2% year-on-year, to EUR1.527 billion. It said operating losses fell to EUR7.6 million and booked a net loss of EUR252.8 million. CAPEX for 2011 declined 3.2% to EYR739 million.

In operational terms, Telekom’s domestic mobile subscriber base increased by 3.3% year-on-year to 5.27 million, with mobile broadband customers increasing 13.9% to 744,900 at end-December. Telekom’s fixed access lines grew 0.9% to 2.34 million, and its broadband subscriber base expanded 9.7% to 1.27 million. In Bulgaria, Mobiltel’s subscriber base increased 4.8% to 5.50 million customers; the cellco’s 3G subscriber base grew to 192,000 during 2011. During the same period, Velcom, Belarus’s number two operator by users, boosted its mobile subscriber base by 6.1% to 4.62 million, supported by strong growth of mobile broadband customers, to 453,100. Vipnet, the second largest mobile operator in Croatia, saw its subscriber base decrease 0.5% to 2.02 million customers, while its 3G subscriber base increased by 17.9% to 170,600. Si.mobil, the second largest operator in Slovenia, increased its subscriber base 3.4% to 639,700 customers, with mobile broadband users up to 15,935 during the corresponding period. VIP Mobile, the third largest mobile operator in Serbia, continued to grow its mobile subscriber base, which stood at 1.64 million at the end of December 2011, a rise of 20.8% year-on-year. Finally, Macedonia’s number three player VIP Mobile, grew its subscriber base to 566,600 customers at the end of 2011.

In other news, Reuters reports that Egyptian telecoms billionaire Naguib Sawiris views himself as a long-term Telekom Austria investor, even if his Vienna-based partner Ronny Pecik decides to exit the venture. Sawiris commented: ‘I am not one to get in and then get right out again. You get the best results only if you remain invested for the long term. I would prefer this to be a very long-term thing. Of course I will coordinate this with Ronny Pecik. He is an outstanding partner’. Last month Sawiris said that he was keen to raise his indirect stake in Telekom Austria to 25%; in 4Q11 the outspoken telecoms tycoon partnered with Pecik to launch a so-called ‘hostile takeover’ of Telekom Austria, and the duo now jointly hold a 20.118% stake in the company, via Pecik’s RPR Privatstiftung and Marathon investment vehicles. Sawiris has also expressed his desire to secure a supervisory seat on the board.

Austria, A1 Belarus, A1 Telekom Austria Group