Heavy investment and declining wholesale income eats into Swisscom’s bottom line

3 May 2012

Switzerland’s fixed line incumbent and largest telco by subscribers, Swisscom, has noted a fall in net profits for the first quarter of 2012, as investments in broadband networks and falling income from the wholesale and corporate segments ate into the company’s bottom line. Group revenues for the three months ended 31 March 2012 fell by 2.1% year-on-year to CHF2.802 billion (USD3.074 billion), as revenues from its Italian arm, Fastweb fell by 9.3%. Income from Swisscom Switzerland dipped by 0.1% y-o-y to CHF2.079 billion, as increases in the SME and residential sectors were offset by a 2.8% decline in revenues from wholesale and corporate markets. Group earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for the period under review were CHF1.104 billion, down from CHF1.126 billion a year earlier. Group OPEX fell to CHF1.698 billion as reductions at Fastweb offset rising costs in Switzerland. CAPEX, meanwhile rose 19.0% y-o-y to CHF502 million, excluding outgoings of CHF360 million spent on mobile frequencies in Switzerland in February. Consequently, net income for the quarter fell to CHF456 million, from CHF474 million in the corresponding period of 2011.

In terms of subscribers, Swisscom Switzerland’s broadband customer base increased to 1.682 million, and the number of IPTV users rose to 655,000. Swisscom’s wireless customer base rose to 6.082 million (2.243 million pre-paid, 3.657 million post-paid), from 5.861 million a year earlier. Bundled packages continued to increase in popularity, with 659,000 subscribers taking double- triple- or quad-play deals compared to 464,000 in the corresponding period of 2011. The number of bundled wireless subscriptions more than doubled y-o-y from 84,000 to 182,000 whilst customers taking IPTV services as part of a package increased from 255,000 to 419,000. Blended average revenue per user (ARPU) continued to fall in the wireless segment, dipping to CHF42 per month from CHF44 per month in Q1 2011.

Swisscom’s outlook for 2012 remains unchanged, however, expecting to close the year with revenues of CHF11.4 billion and EBITDA of CHF4.4 billion. CAPEX will total CHF2.2 billion for the year – excluding fees for Swiss wireless spectrum – CHF1.7 billion of which will be invested in Switzerland. Swisscom has not altered its medium-term goal of connecting 30% of homes and business with fibre-optic cables.

Switzerland, Fastweb, Swisscom