Belgian full-service telecoms operator Proximus has announced its financial results for the twelve months ended 31 December 2020, reporting a 3.6% year-on-year drop in group revenue to EUR5.479 billion (USD6.681 billion), driven by the negative impact from COVID-19 related travel restrictions on roaming, lower handset sales and a continued decrease in regular SMS usage as customers switch to OTT services. Underlying group EBITDA fell 1.8% to EUR1.836 billion – including an estimated net negative impact of around EUR49 million related to COVID-19 headwinds – while underlying group expenses were 3.5% lower at EUR1.740 billion on the back of efforts to structurally improve its domestic cost base by means of efficiency and digitalisation. Group income rose 48.8% y-o-y to EUR564 million following restructuring costs in FY19.
To support the ramp-up in its fibre rollout, Proximus invested EUR372 million in the fourth quarter of 2020, bringing its total accrued CAPEX to EUR1 billion in 2020, excluding spectrum and football rights. Over the last three months of the year an additional 69,000 premises were passed with fibre, expanding the operator’s total fibre network footprint to cover 460,000 homes and businesses by end-December 2020.
The group reported a total mobile subscriber base (excluding M2M) of 4.901 million at 31 December 2020, of which 4.277 million were post-paid customers (up 4.2% y-o-y) and 624,000 pre-paid (down 12.9%). The number of fixed broadband customers rose 2.3% to end 2020 at 2.137 million, its TV customer base was 2.2% higher at 1.677 million, while fixed voice lines fell 7.8% to 2.213 million.
Looking ahead, Proximus is forecasting underlying group EBITDA for 2021 of between EUR1.750 billion and EUR1.775 billion and group CAPEX of close to EUR1.2 billion.