Swiss full-service provider Salt has published its financial results for the first quarter of 2021, booking a 5.0% year-on-year increase in total revenue to CHF250.5 million (USD279.5 million). Operating revenue for the three-months to end-March 2021 grew by 2.3% compared to the same period of 2020, to CHF209.9 million, with the company attributing the improvement to growth in mobile subscriptions (particularly post-paid users) and improvements in its fibre business. Salt notes, however, that these factors were partially offset by a decline in post-paid mobile ARPU as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on roaming ‘out-of-bundle’ revenue. Turnover from equipment sales, meanwhile grew from CHF33.4 million in Q1 2020 to CHF40.7 million, with the growth aided by sales restrictions in the year-ago period and a delivery backlog from Q4 2020. Quarterly EBITDA, meanwhile, stood at CHF123.6 million compared to CHF122.4 million a year earlier. Free cash flow for the period was down to CHF39.8 million from CHF75.0 million in Q1 2020, with Salt attributing the drop to an increase in cash CAPEX – which grew from CHF43.6 million to CHF60.7 million – and a negative change in working capital. According to Salt, the latter was the result of ‘a higher inventory level driven by a negative phasing effect and a higher number of base transceiver station (BTS) sites under construction’ and ‘the prepayment of the sites at the beginning of the year’.
Salt counted a total of 1.83 million mobile customers at the end of March 2021 – up from 1.81 million twelve months earlier – of which 1.33 million were post-paid users. Mobile ARPU for the period fell to CHF30.0, though, compared to CHF30.7 in Q1 2020.