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24.07.2020 07:01:25

Strong EBITDAaL growth continues, in line with full-year ambition

Press release
Embargo until 24 July 2020 at 7:00 am
Regulated information

Financial information for the second quarter of 2020 and first half of 2020

Strong EBITDAaL growth continues, in line with full-year ambition
                                          

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  • Mobile postpaid customer base +3.1% yoy on quarterly net-adds of 7k 
  • Convergence customer base +33.6% yoy on quarterly net-adds of 8k
  • Q2 Revenues1 -7.9% yoy / Q2 Retail service revenues1: +2.1% yoy
  • Q2 EBITDAaL1 +9.7% yoy
  • EBITDAaL guidance unchanged

COVID -19:
 §  COVID-19 measures have impacted the commercial performance. The closure of shops until mid-May lead to lower acquisition of convergence and mobile customers. Consequently, handset sales also dropped significantly (-€11.7m). After reopening shops in mid-May, sales quickly regained pre-lockdown levels. Several B2B integration service projects were frozen, also slowing down this activity. In terms of traffic, SMS (-€16m), customer roaming (-€4.7m) and visitor roaming (-€5.8m) were strongly reduced. Additionally, lower cable installations and network deployment limitation impacted eCapex. In parallel mitigation measures have been taken in terms of labour management (activity rate, recruitment, temps, and consultants), advertising and promotion, general and administrative expenses.
                                          
Operational highlights

  • The convergence customer base grew by 8k during Q2 to 288k Love customers (+33.6% yoy), in spite of the COVID-19 impact. Love Duo continues to represent one third of gross adds. The convergent mobile subscribers continue to increase and represent 17.8% of mobile postpaid customers, up 424 bp vs Q2’19.
  • The mobile postpaid customer base grew by 7k during Q2 to 2.6m subscribers (+3.1% yoy) despite COVID-19 impact. Customers are taking advantage of the multi-card offer, with a promising start of the GO mobile portfolio.
  • B2C convergent ARPO decreased slightly by 1.5% yoy to €75.6 explained by the growing Love Duo customer base with a lower price point, which already represents 15% of Love customers.
  • Mobile only postpaid ARPO declined by 4.6% yoy to €19.7, due to the COVID-19 impact with lower out-of-bundle revenues from roaming, partly offset by migrating customers to higher tariff plans in the new GO portfolio.

                                          

Orange Belgium: key operating figures

 Q2 2019Q2 2020change
Mobile postpaid customer base (in ‘000)2,5162,5943.1%
Net adds (in ‘000) 267-73.7%
Mobile only postpaid ARPO (€ per month)20.619.7-4.6%
Convergent customer base (in ‘000)21628833.6%
Net adds (in ‘000) 168-47.7%
B2C convergent ARPO (€ per month)76.875.6-1.5%
Convergent mobile customer as % mobile contract customer base13.6%17.8%424 bp
    
    

Financial highlights

  • Revenues decreased by 7.9% yoy1 to €302.8m. Retail service revenues increased by €4.6m (+2.1% yoy1) supported by higher convergence services (+33.2% yoy). Wholesale revenues decreased (-26% yoy) due to lower incoming SMS revenues (-€16m) which have no impact on EBITDAaL. The decline of roaming revenues is compensated by lower roaming costs. Equipment sales declined (-21.9% yoy), also with limited impact on EBITDAaL.
  • EBITDAaL increased by 9.7% yoy1 to €86.0m, mainly thanks to increasing retail service revenues, improved cable EBITDAaL margin and cost efficiencies as a result of our Bold Inside transformation plan. Cable operations’ EBITDAaL had a positive result of €6.4m this quarter vs €2.4m in Q2’19. The COVID-19 mitigation actions compensated the impact of decreasing revenues on EBITDAaL
  • eCapex decreased by 30.7% yoy to €29.8m, due to COVID-19 measures which has led to lower cable installations and slow down of network deployment.
  • In line with our communication for Q1’20, Orange Belgium updates its 2020 financial guidance on revenues and eCapex. Revenues guidance changes from low single digit growth to slight decrease on a comparable basis; EBITDAaL guidance remains unchanged at €310m-€330m; and eCapex guidance shifts from stable without RAN sharing to slight decrease (RAN sharing included).

Orange Belgium Group: key financial figures

 reportedcomparable1 comparablereportedreportedcomparable comparablereported
in €mQ2 2019Q2 2019Q2 2020changechangeH1 2019H1 2019H1 2020changechange
Revenues318.9328.7302.8-7.9%-5.1%637.1656.4636.6-3.0%-0.1%
Retail service revenues207.0216.4221.02.1%6.8%412.6431.3445.83.4%8.0%
           
EBITDAaL78.978.486.09.7%9.0%136.9136.1148.28.8%8.2%
margin as % of revenues24.7%23.8%28.4%456 bp368 bp21.5%20.7%23.3%253 bp179 bp
eCapex-42.9-42.9-29.8-30.7%-30.7%-79.8-79.8-64.9-18.7%-18.7%
Operating cash flow236.035.456.258.7%56.3%57.156.383.347.9%45.9%
           
Net financial debt248.8 181.3  248.8 181.3  
           
  1. Comparable base includes Upsize N.V. 2019 before acquisition
  2. Operating cash flow defined as EBITDAaL – eCapex

Michaël Trabbia, Chief Executive Officer, commented:
Besides the COVID-19, we have been able to deliver a strong EBITDAaL growth, as a result of our Bold Challenger positioning and our continuous efforts on our Bold Inside transformation plan.

During the quarter, our commercial performance has been impacted by the lock-down but remained positive and increased again when our shops reopened.

In order to better address the customer demand for higher speed, we upgraded our Internet Boost option to an ultra-fast download speed of 400 Mbps. Our B2B customers can also benefit from this 400 Mbps internet connection. In addition, we updated our Love Pro offer to allow our Soho customers to benefit from the multi-product advantage that was already available for our residential customers.

As we constantly look at improving our offers while remaining true to our customer promise, we signed an agreement with Eleven Sports that will allow all our customers to access to the Jupiler Pro League for the five coming years at a reasonable price, without having to pay for large content bundles.

After 4 intense and passionate years, I will step down as Orange Belgium CEO in a few weeks to take a new and exciting challenge at Orange Group. I am particularly proud of the commitment and efforts of our teams that allowed us to successfully position Orange Belgium as the customer-centric Bold Challenger of the Belgian market, become a credible convergent player and deliver a solid and sustained commercial and financial growth. As from 1st of September, Xavier Pichon will take over the lead of Orange Belgium. I am convinced that Xavier, together with the teams, will bring Orange Belgium to further successes.

Arnaud Castille, Chief Financial Officer, stated:
The COVID-19 has impacted us on both an operational and financial level. The closure of our shops has reduced our customer acquisition in mobile and fixed, as well as handset sales. In parallel, we saw a reduction in churn during this period.

From a financial perspective, our revenues are mainly impacted by low-margin business, specifically SMS traffic and handset sales. Also, the decrease in roaming traffic has an impact both on revenues as on costs. However, our retail service increased, which is fundamental for our business. Therefore, from a margin perspective we saw a low impact on EBITDAaL, also thanks to the mitigation measures taken and the necessary efforts made by our teams. The reduction of cable activation also results in a decrease in eCapex.

As a consequence, we will adapt a little our financial guidance for 2020, by slightly decrease revenues in comparison to 2019 on a comparable basis and by a slight decrease in our eCapex including RAN sharing. We maintain our EBITDAaL guidance unchanged between €310m-€330m.

On 1 April, we started the joint venture with Proximus on the RAN sharing and transferred the relevant people to the newly created company MWingz, of which each has 50% ownership. This collaboration will clearly benefit both OPEX and CAPEX as we stated earlier.

From a cost perspective we continue our Bold inside programme as planned. We are migrating our customers to our simplified new GO portfolio and decreasing our legacy portfolio. Our new e-shop improved our digital sales, which also continued after the lockdown.


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