Mobistar cites impact of regulation as 2013 revenues decline

27 Feb 2014

With the finger of blame once again pointed in part at the impact of reduced mobile termination rates (MTRs), Belgium’s Mobistar has reported a 13.6% decline in service revenues for the year ended 31 December 2013. In the year under review Mobistar generated a total consolidated turnover of EUR1.461 billion (USD1.94 billion), down 11.5% from the EUR1.650 billion it reported for FY2012. Service revenues, meanwhile, totalled EUR1.252 million, compared to EUR1.450 billion in 2012, though Mobistar said that without regulatory impact the drop in such turnover would have been limited to 9.6%; it noted that the reduction in MTR and roaming tariffs amounted to EUR33.7 million and EUR23.4 million, respectively, in FY13.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for FY2013 stood at EUR335.7 million, representing a decline of 32.6% against the previous fiscal year, while the company’s restated EBITDA margin reached 26.8 % of the service revenues at the end of 2013, compared to 34.3 % in 2012. Mobistar noted, however, that the year-on-year evolution had been impacted by two positive elements booked in 2012, those being the reversal of the universal service provision and the release of previous years accumulated provisions for Irisnet. On a comparable basis, excluding these one-off impacts, the 2013 restated EBITDA of EUR335.7 million would compare to a 2012 restated EBITDA of EUR471.7 million euro, meaning a 28.8% y-o-y decline. Consolidated net profit for the twelve month period, meanwhile, was EUR87.4 million, down significantly from the EUR185.7 million reported by Mobistar for FY12. The company said that the decline was mainly the result of reduced EBITDA, partially offset by a decrease of the depreciations, financial expenses and income taxes.

At end-December 2013 Mobistar reported that the total number of connected SIM cards on its books stood at 5.075 million, up from 4.839 million a year earlier, of which 3.170 million were customers taking a service directly from the operator, down from 3.432 million at end-2012. However, the number of customers signed up to a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) which uses the Mobistar network grew, with such accesses numbering 1.209 million at the end of 2013, up from just under 890,000 twelve months earlier. Fixed broadband customer numbers continued to decline, meanwhile, standing at just 47,202 at the end of the reporting period, down from 71,985 at end-2012, and fixed line voice connections also fell, to 200,634 from 233,342.

Ludovic Pech, Mobistar’s chief financial officer, said of the company’s performance and future plans: ‘We are intensifying our efforts to restructure, simplify and streamline our operations. But we are also reinventing our business models to provide a more cost efficient and robust platform to build upon in the future. In spite of these efforts, the regulatory and the recent additional pylon tax charges continue to be a burden.’

Belgium, Orange Belgium