Brussels, 4 February 2016 – Today, Mobistar (Euronext Brussels: MOBB) publishes its results for the fourth quarter and full year 2015. They are characterized by an accelerating commercial momentum towards the end of 2015. By reinvesting the benefits of its ongoing transformation efforts, Mobistar achieved record mobile postpaid net adds while meeting its upgraded full year 2015 restated EBITDA guidance. Mobistar is now ready for the launch of its convergent offers. To support its strategic ambitions, Mobistar will adopt the Orange brand in Belgium.
- Mobistar’s retail customer base increased sequentially with 54.0 thousand customers net adds in Belgium in the fourth quarter of 2015. Postpaid net adds growth accelerated to 27.6 thousand new customers in the fourth quarter of 2015, the highest result in four years marking a clear acceleration compared to previous quarters. In parallel, Mobistar continued improving its customer loyalty, creating a solid basis to commence 2016.
- At the end of 2015, Mobistar’s Belgium 4G outdoor & indoor network coverage stood at 99 % and 88 % respectively. The number of smartphone users jumped 11 % year-on-year to reach a penetration of 61 %. More meaningful was the 99 % increase year-on-year in the number of 4G smartphone users, reaching close to 1 million. Total 4G traffic increased fivefold in 2015 and in December 2015 represented 62 % of total traffic. Mobistar still has a sizable opportunity with about 0.9 and 1.2 million 3G smartphones and feature phones remaining in its customer base. While still in trial mode, Mobistar’s 4G+ coverage is rapidly increasing and now amounts to 21 % of the population, allowing for a commercial launch in the coming months.
- The postpaid ARPU in the fourth quarter of 2015 increased to 28.5 euros from 27.5 euros in the fourth quarter of 2014, an increase of 3.6 % year-on-year. In the fourth quarter of 2015 Mobistar performed particularly well on the acquisition of customers in the mid- to high-end segment which should support the average data usage and ARPU evolution in the coming quarters. Overall, Mobistar delivered sound financial results in 2015 with a total service revenues of 1,085.9 million euros, -2.3 % yoy (-1.2 % yoy excl. regulation).
- Mobistar’s 2015 restated EBITDA excluding cable expenses of 6.8 million euros amounted to 282.8 million euros, thereby delivering upon the upwards revised guidance of October 2015 while adopting a prudent approach on the pylon tax with an additional provision of 10 million euros in the fourth quarter of 2015 for the periods 2014 and 2015. This extra provision was triggered by a rectification notice received at the end of December 2015 from the Walloon administration which remains firmly contested by Mobistar. Excluding this non-cash item, Mobistar would have realized a 2015 restated EBITDA excluding cable expenses of 292.8 million euros, while increasing investments in the acquisition and retention of postpaid customers.
- Mobistar will launch its convergent offers in the first quarter of 2016 and will unveil all the details in February.
- With a positive outlook on mobile service revenues, Mobistar expects its restated EBITDA excluding cable to range between 270 and 290 million euros in 2016. This guidance range takes into account the exceptional spending to successfully execute the rebranding into Orange.
- Mobistar’s Board of Directors voted unanimously in favour of adopting the Orange brand in Belgium before the end of 2016. This change will help the company to effectively boost its transformation and support its strategic development through new services for business and residential customers. By forging closer ties with the Orange Group, Mobistar will gain more direct access to the Group’s innovations and technical expertise, and will benefit from the globally-recognized force of the Orange brand name.
- While having reduced its net financial debt/EBITDA-ratio to 1.3x at the end of 2015, Mobistar will in 2016 prioritize the use of its cash for investing in convergence and future growth initiatives. Accordingly the Board of Directors will propose the General Assembly of May 4, 2016 not to pay a dividend for the financial year 2015.
Mobistar’s Chief Executive Officer Jean Marc Harion commented: “I’m proud of Mobistar’s team members’ commitment who have successfully delivered on the 3 year transformation plan that we initiated in 2013 and that is now coming to an end. We’ve built strong assets that make us confident and optimistic about the future: we’ve the best 4G network, a loyal and growing contract customer base, but also a much more agile and lean company. This year will be a pivotal year for our company as we celebrate Mobistar’s 20th anniversary as mobile operator in Belgium and as we’ll become a convergent player under the Orange brand. The adoption of the Orange brand is a unique opportunity to strengthen our presence in our markets and to support our entrance into the world of convergence with the upcoming launch of our cable Internet and TV offer for residential customers and the recent launch of the new Pulse offers for companies. On the business market, the rebranding will help to reconfirm our leadership in international services in the domain of Machine-to-Machine and the Internet of Things.”