Belgian full-service telecoms operator Proximus has raised its full-year guidance after reporting ‘solid financial results and excellent commercial traction’ in the three months ended 30 September 2020. In the period under review, the company posted underlying group revenues of EUR1.368 billion (USD1.602 billion), a 2.8% decline compared to the third quarter of 2019, although underlying domestic revenue rose 0.2% year-on-year to EUR1.074 billion. Despite a 1.9% rise in domestic underlying EBITDA to EUR438 million, the figure for the group as a whole was 0.2% down on the corresponding period of 2019 at EUR469 million. Group operating expenses were 2.3% lower at EUR430 million, driven by lower domestic expenses resulting from cost efficiencies and increased productivity. Excluding spectrum and football broadcasting rights, Proximus invested EUR210 million in the third quarter, bringing its total CAPEX to EUR628 million over the first nine months of 2020. The company extended its FTTP network to pass an additional 45,000 premises in 3Q20, with its fibre footprint reaching 391,000 homes at end-September.
Across the group as a whole, Proximus ended the reporting period with 2.12 million broadband customers (up from 2.08 million in Q3 2019), 1.66 million TV subscribers (an increase from 1.63 million at end-September 2019) and 2.27 million fixed voice customers (down from 2.44 million). The company reported a wireless subscriber base of 4.88 million (excluding M2M connections), compared with 4.82 million twelve months earlier, while its M2M customer base stood at 2.19 million (1.79 million in 3Q19).
Despite anticipating a tougher fourth quarter, Proximus raised its full-year 2020 guidance and now expects group operating cash flow (EBITDA minus CAPEX) of at least EUR830 million – above the previous range of EUR780-800 million – and group CAPEX of under EUR1 billion.