Belgian full-service telecoms operator Proximus has announced its financial results for the twelve months ended 31 December 2022, highlighting that ‘sound financial performance’ in the fourth quarter enabled it to achieve its FY22 guidance despite inflationary pressures. Annual group underlying revenues rose 5.9% year-on-year to EUR5.909 billion (USD6.318 billion), following ‘strong momentum’ and 8.1% y-o-y growth in Q4. Underlying group EBITDA totalled EUR1.786 billion in the period under review, up 0.8% from EUR1.772 billion in 2021, while group underlying expenses increased by 7.1% y-o-y to EUR1.936 billion.
Excluding spectrum and football rights licences, Proximus Group’s CAPEX in Q4 2022 stood at EUR464 million, EUR3 million lower than in the comparable period of 2022, bringing accrued CAPEX for FY22 to EUR1.305 billion. This EUR101 million y-o-y increase was largely driven by the group’s investments in Gigabit networks, with fibre-related investments accounting for 35% of total CAPEX. An additional 158,000 premises were passed with fibre during the last three months of the year, increasing the operator’s total fibre network footprint by 57% y-o-y to 1.282 million premises to end-December 2022 – equivalent to national fibre coverage of nearly 21%.
The group reported a total mobile subscription base (excluding M2M) of 5.439 million at 31 December 2022, an increase from 5.340 million at end-2021, of which 4.817 million were post-paid subscriptions (up 3.6% y-o-y) and 621,000 pre-paid accounts (9.8% lower). Total fixed broadband accesses rose 1.7% y-o-y to 2.216 million, TV subscriptions were 0.7% lower at 1.710 million and fixed voice subscriptions fell 9.7% to 1.810 million.
Looking ahead, Proximus is forecasting underlying domestic revenue to grow by 1% to 3% in FY23, although it anticipates an inflation-driven decline in group underlying EBITDA of around 3% compared to FY22. Group CAPEX is expected to reach a peak of around EUR1.3 billion in 2023, primarily due to investment in the fibre rollout as well as ongoing mobile network consolidation and 5G deployment.