German mobile service provider freenet has reported group earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of EUR263.2 million (USD336.8 million) for the first nine months of 2012, compared with EUR246.5 million in the same period a year earlier. Accordingly, the operator announced that it has raised its earlier guidance for group EBITDA for the full year 2012 from EUR340 million to EUR355 million and now expects free cash flow of EUR255 million. Revenues for the nine-month period totalled EUR2.269 billion, down from EUR2.405 billion in 9M11; the executive board forecasts sales of around EUR3 billion for full year 2012. Net profit for the nine months ended 30 September 2012 was EUR131.2 million, compared to EUR77.8 million in the year-ago period.
At 30 September 2012 freenet’s mobile customer base totalled 14.31 million (down from 15.16 million twelve months earlier), of which 5.93 million were pre-paid customers (compared to 7.15 million at end-September 2011), 5.72 million were contract users (down from 5.80 million a year earlier, but up from 5.69 million quarter-on-quarter) and the remaining 2.66 million were customers of ‘no-frills’ brands (up from 2.22 million twelve months previously). Sales generated from the mobile communications segment totalled EUR2.223 billion in the first nine months of 2012, down from EUR2.354 billion a year earlier, while EBITDA grew from EUR243.9 million to EUR262.2 million over the same timeframe. ‘We are deliberately foregoing low-margin revenues this year in favour of the company’s profitability,’ said freenet CEO Christoph Vilanek, adding: ‘Accordingly, we have increased our ‘customer ownership’ base [contract and no-frills customers] to 8.38 million. The positive development in the valuable contract customer segment, which increased by more than 31,000 customers in the third quarter alone to 5.72 million, is particularly important in this.’