Orange, Telenor, Veon and Airtel Africa publish financial results

Orange, Telenor, Veon and Airtel Africa publish financial results

Financial results NEW .jpg

Orange, Veon and Telenor have published their Q3 financial results, with Airtel Africa also releasing its half year trading update.

Telenor: Solid performance and full speed 5G

Noting "solid performance in the Nordics", Telenor posted cash flow of NOK 7 billion, as well as a 4% growth in subscription and traffic revenues in Finland and Denmark.

However, Telenor also reported a 2% decline in organic EBITDA across all operations and a 2.6% decline in organic subscription and traffic revenue growth year to date for the group as a whole.

President and CEO Sigve Brekke said: " The solid performance in the Nordics continued. In Norway, demand for value added services drove a 3 % mobile ARPU growth in the quarter. The 5G rollout and copper decommissioning is running at full speed, supporting our superior network position and laying the foundation for future service growth."

The results followed a mixed year to date for the company following its divestment in Myanmar – which saw it write off $782 million – and the spin off of its Nordic tower assets.

Commenting on the Asia market, Brekke said: "There are early signs of gradual recovery from the impact of the pandemic. Subscriber growth and increasing data usage are important drivers in Bangladesh and Pakistan. In Thailand, the results are impacted by lockdowns. The country, however, is signalling re-opening of the borders for tourists towards the end of the year. In Malaysia, we see gradual improvement in performance through targeted market initiatives, supported by government stimuli packages and easing of restrictions as a result of high vaccination rates.

In Q3, although opex was down the capex to sales ratio stood at 15% and 1.8 million mobile subscribers were added. Organic EBITDA decreased 2% and subscription and traffic revenues "remained stable on an organic basis".

Reported net income for the quarter was NOK 2.6 billion and total free cash flow was "solid" at NOK 7.2 billion and Brekke confirmed the outlook for 2021 remains unchanged.

Orange: international carriers and shared services up 10.8%

Orange saw growth of 10.8% in its international carriers and shared services division, but named Africa as its "main growth engine".

There, revenues were up 12%, with contributions from all markets. Orange now has more than 40 million 4G customers across Africa, a 33.6% increase compared to last year.

Meanwhile in Europe, Orange saw strong performance in retail services, with notable revenue growth from convergence (+2.9%), mobile (+5.6%) and fixed broadband (+5.2%).

Excluding Spain, the Europe market as a whole rose 2% with retail services growth up 5.7%. Spain, however, was down 4.4% despite a slight pick-up in retail services.

France saw growth of 1.2 points in retail services while Orange Fibre saw its customer base increase 36% year on year, however that growth was not entirely reflected this quarter due to the decline in co-financing from other operators on the fiber network when compared to 2020.

Overall, France recorded a 4.1% decline, but was virtually stable excluding co-financing thanks to retail services where growth accelerated by 3.7% (excluding PSTN).

However, enterprise declined by 1.4%, which Orange said was due to a decrease in fixed services of 5.2%, which in turn "was not offset by the growth in IT and integration services (+2.1%) and mobile services (+3.5%)".

Other European countries continued to make a positive contribution to the group’s results, with a 5.7% growth in retail services, due both to the convergence strategy and "the enthusiasm seen for fibre", according to chairman and CEO Stéphane Richard,

Richard commented: "In an economy still showing the effects of the health crisis, including the acceleration of the digital transformation, our customers' appetite for very high-speed access is evidenced in their take up of fiber and 5G, and of our convergent offers."

Richard confirmed the outlook for 2021 remains unchanged.

 Veon: double-digit growth pushed full year EBITDA guidance

 In Q3, Veon noted a 10.2% gain in year-over-year revenue performance in reported currency, compared to 11.2% in local currency.

Elsewhere over the quarter there was "strong acceleration" in Beeline Russia's total revenue and service revenue performance, up 8.2% and 4.7% YoY in local currency respectively and EBITDA increased strongly year-over-year in both reported currency (+8.6%) and local currency (+9.1%).

Equity free cash flow for the quarter stood at US$308 million showing a "significant improvement over prior quarters".

As a result FY2021 Group EBITDA guidance was raised in line with the minimum local currency growth of 8%. On group revenues guidance, Veon said "we maintain high single-digit local currency growth for the full financial year".

Kaan Terzioğlu said: "Our successful execution along VEON's 3 strategic pillars - infrastructure, digital operator transformation and Ventures - is moving full steam ahead and bearing fruit. With this we have now delivered five consecutive quarters of improvement in both operational and financial performance.

All of our operating companies have recorded year-over-year total revenue growth, with five of them reporting double-digit growth. I am particularly pleased that Beeline Russia's strong performance has continued to accelerate further in the month of September with total revenues up 8.2% and mobile service revenue growth of 4.5% making Beeline Russia a significant contributor to our Group's revenue growth."

In mobile, 4G subscribers increased to 93.8 million, reaching penetration of 46.2%, while JazzCash in Pakistan reached 13.9 million monthly active users, and Toffee TV in Bangladesh reached 6.3 million monthly active users.

Algeria was accounted for under "Asset held for sale" and did not contribute to either the comparison base or the actual reported numbers.

Airtel Africa: 25% revenue growth, sustainability strategy announced

In the half year ending 30 September, Airtel Africa saw a 25.2% growth in revenue with double digit growth across all operating regions. For the second quarter, reported revenue growth came in at 20.3%.

The customer base grew by 5.4% to reach 122.7 million, with increased penetration across data and mobile money. The former saw growth of 10.9%, while the latter recorded an increase of 19%. However, customer base growth was affected by the new NIN/SIM registration regulations in Nigeria; excluding this the customer base grew by 13.7%.

The strong results were recorded despite parts of sub-Saharan Africa currently experiencing a third wave of Covid-19 infections.

Incoming group CEO Segun Ogunsanya said: “Operationally we have continued our network modernisation and expansion, aligned with an extension of our distribution capabilities, which have together contributed towards continued strong growth in ARPUs across voice, data and mobile money. We have seen an improvement in our customer growth trends for the Group as we approach stability of net monthly movements in Nigeria."

The results were announced alongside Airtel Africa's sustainability strategy, which will see Airtel double down on its commitments to digital and financial inclusion, environmental protection, diversity and access to education.

The strategy will see Airtel Africa embark on a series of goals, among them: improving access to education for one million children and, through a UNICEF partnership, connecting 1,400 schools to the internet by 2027; eliminating hazardous waste from operations; ensuring all suppliers are aligned with the sustainability agenda through programmes to increase supplier disclosure and audit ESG performance.

On this Ogunsanya said: “Today is a significant milestone in Airtel Africa's journey. Our new strategy provides a solid foundation for us to accelerate change for the communities we serve and the environment in which we operate. We have worked closely with our stakeholders to ensure that this strategy is ambitious, robust and credible.

"This partnership approach underpins all the work we will deliver through our strategy. We will look to collaborate across the industry, recognising that by working together, we will be able to drive a more significant impact for the people who need it most. We are more committed than ever to ensuring open and honest communication on our progress as Airtel Africa embarks on its long journey towards a more sustainable future," he continued.



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