Belgian full-service telecoms operator Proximus has announced full-year results in line with its guidance for the twelve months ended 31 December 2021 and reconfirmed its growth ambitions for 2022, following a strong performance in the fourth quarter. Underlying group revenue rose 1.8% year-on-year to EUR5.578 billion (USD6.339 billion), with a 3.8% y-o-y increase in Q4 (EUR1.441 billion) helping to offset the impact of enduring COVID-19 headwinds earlier in the year. Underlying group EBITDA totalled EUR1.772 billion in the period under review, a 3.5% decline from EUR1.836 billion in 2020 driven by a 3.0% fall in domestic EBITDA, while underlying group expenses increased 3.9% y-o-y to EUR1.807 billion.
Excluding spectrum and football broadcasting rights, Proximus Group’s CAPEX in Q4 2021 stood at EUR467 million (up 25.6% y-o-y), bringing the full-year total to EUR1.203 billion (up 20.3% from EUR1 billion in 2020). This increase was in large part driven by the group’s investment in Gigabit networks, with fibre-related investments accounting for 31% of total CAPEX. An additional 126,000 premises were passed with fibre during the last three months of the year, increasing the operator’s total fibre network footprint to cover 813,000 premises by end-December 2021 – equivalent to national fibre coverage of nearly 14%.
The group reported a total mobile subscription base (excluding M2M) of 5.340 million at 31 December 2021, a 9% y-o-y increase from 4.901 million at end-2020, of which 4.651 million were post-paid subscriptions (up 9.1% y-o-y) and 689,000 pre-paid (11.6% higher). Total fixed broadband accesses rose 1.9% y-o-y to 2.178 million, TV subscriptions were 2.6% higher at 1.721 million, while fixed voice subscriptions fell 9.4% to 2.004 million.
Looking ahead, Proximus is forecasting underlying domestic revenue, excluding terminals, and EBITDA to grow by up to 1% compared with 2021. Including TeleSign and BICS, it anticipates underlying Group EBITDA to be down by around 1%. In line with the announced fibre rollout strategy, Group CAPEX for 2022 is expected to rise to close to EUR1.3 billion.