TELE2 AB ANNOUNCES CONTINUING REVENUE GROWTH AND THE DOUBLING OF EBITDA SINCE THE SECOND QUARTER - Tele2

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Oct 24, 2001 6:30 AM CET

TELE2 AB ANNOUNCES CONTINUING REVENUE GROWTH AND THE DOUBLING OF EBITDA SINCE THE SECOND QUARTER

  • 55% Annualized increase in pro forma Operating Revenue in Q3
  • Third successive EBITDA positive quarter since SEC Acquisition, doubling Q3/Q2 to MSEK 716
  • Tele2's Mobile operations in Sweden reported 57% EBITDA margins in Q3 and 2.4m subscribers (+24%)
  • 35% Annualized increase in pro forma subscribers to 13.7 million
  • Tele2 successfully refinanced debt by EUR 1.2 billion 5 year facility
  • MVNO launched in Netherlands
  • GPRS services launched in Sweden and Luxembourg
 
New York and Stockholm - October 24, 2001 - Tele2 AB ("Tele2", "the Group") (Nasdaq Stock Market: TLTOA and TLTOB and Stockhomsbörsen: TEL2A and TEL2B), the leading alternative pan-European telecommunications company, today announced its consolidated results for the third quarter 2001.
 
Tele2 Financial Summary


 
SEK millions
 
2001
 
Q3
 
2001
 
Q2
 
2001
 
Q1
 
2000
 
Q4
Operating Revenue
6,324
6,220
5,619
4,949
Operating Profit (Loss)        
before depreciation and amortization (i)
716
351
2
-356
after depreciation and amortization (ii)
-46
-375
-707
-1,006
  1. EBITDA
  2. EBIT
 
Lars-Johan Jarnheimer, President and CEO of Tele2 AB stated:
 
"Tele2 has become the largest pan-European telecoms brand, with a fast growing subscriber base of 13.7 million subscribers in 21 countries. In the third quarter we saw increasing profitability in the Swedish market and continued improving EBITDA in our operations in Central and Southern Europe. In September, there was a resumption of marketing expenditure in the European fixed-line businesses, after a quieter period over the summer months, and this marketing activity is now driving subscriber intake, bringing increased revenue growth whilst EBITDA losses will be further reduced. Our focus continues to be on customer acquisition at a low cost, churn management and operational cost control, which will be assisted by the recent announcement of cuts in interconnection rates. We believe that margin improvements will continue to be made across the Group through to the year end 2001 and beyond."
 
FINANCIAL AND OPERATING HIGHLIGHTS
 
(The figures shown in parenthesis correspond to the comparable periods in 2000 and all negative amounts are distinguished with a minus sign).
 
Financial highlights
  • Tele2's operating revenues were MSEK 18,163 for the nine months ended September 30, 2001, an increase of 60% over the MSEK 11,324 reported pro forma in the same period last year
  • The total number of subscribers for the Group at September 30, 2001 was 13.7 million, an increase of 24% pro forma over the same period of 2000
  • EBITDA at the Group level was MSEK 1,069 (6) for the nine months ended September 30, 2001. On a quarter by quarter basis, EBITDA improved from MSEK 351 in the second quarter of 2001 to MSEK 716 in the third quarter of 2001, a quarterly improvement of MSEK 365
 
Operating highlights
  • Tele2 launched GPRS in Sweden in October and the offering was well received as the access was at a substantial discount to competitors
  • Tele2 launched an MVNO in August in the Netherlands and plans to launch one more MVNO by the year end
  • In September, Tele2 Norge acquired Enitel AS's private and corporate fixed telephony and dial-up internet subscribers
  • In August, Tele2 finalised a 5 year new amortizing senior debt facility of €1.2 billion
 
FINANCIAL RESULTS
 
Pro forma results for the nine months ended September 30, 2001
 
Operating revenue increased by 60% to MSEK 18,163. There has been steady revenue growth in mobile telephony and fixed telephony operations. Increased marketing activity in the early Autumn following a slower period during the summer is now driving customer numbers and this will be feeding through to operating revenue over the Autumn period.
 
Operating revenue for Tele2 Sweden was MSEK 6,649, an annualized increase of 15% with an encouraging 21% increase in mobile telephony.
 
EBITDA (Operating profit (loss) before depreciation and amortization) was MSEK 1,069 (6). EBITDA doubled from MSEK 351 in the second quarter of 2001 compared to MSEK 716 in the third quarter of 2001. EBITDA margins improved to 11% in the third quarter versus 6% in the second quarter of 2001.
 
EBITDA for Tele2 Sweden was MSEK 2,729 (1,926), an annualized increase of 42%. EBITDA margins were 41% versus 33% in the prior year, showing continuing improvements on a quarterly basis for the past 6 quarters.
 
EBIT (Operating profit (loss) after depreciation and amortization) was MSEK -1,128 (-1,823). EBIT improved from MSEK -375 in the second quarter of 2001 to MSEK -46 in the third quarter of 2001.
 
EBIT for Tele2 Sweden was MSEK 2,153 (1,402), an increase of 54%.
 
EBT (Profit (loss) after financial items) was MSEK -1,597 (-1,965). Net interest expense and other financial items totaled MSEK -419 (-112). The average interest rate applied to debt outstanding was 6.1%.
 
Profit (loss) after tax was MSEK -2,184 (-2,377).
 
Earnings (loss) per share (diluted) was SEK -15.05 (-22.89), after dilution.
 
Tele2's total assets at September 30, 2001 increased by 9% to MSEK 46,259 compared to the MSEK 42,345 reported at December 31, 2000.
 
OPERATIONAL REVIEW BY MARKET AREA


 
 
 
 
Number of customers
 
September 30,
 
 
2001
2000
Pro forma

(Note 4)
%
 
By Market Area
     
Nordic
6,076,000
4,961,000
22%
Baltics and Eastern Europe
574,000
80,000
617%
Central Europe
2,948,000
2,489,000
18%
Southern Europe
3,868,000
2,466,000
57%
Luxembourg
199,000
142,000
40%
TOTAL
13,665,000
10,138,000
35%
By Business Area      
Fixed telephony
9,109,000
6,779,000
34%
Mobile telephony
3,278,000
2,188,000
42%
Whereof Prepaid
1,964,000
1,188,000
65%
Dial up Internet
1,278,000
1,171,000
9%
TOTAL
13,665,000
10,138,000
35%
 
Nordic
 
Operating revenue, MSEK 9,065 (7,617), +19%
 
EBITDA, MSEK 2,692 (2,190), +23%
 
The Nordic market encompasses operations in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland.
 
The Nordic market reported revenue growth across all of its core market areas.
 
Tele2 Sweden is the main component, representing operating revenues of MSEK 6,649, an increase of 15% over the nine months ended September 30, 2001. EBITDA increased by 42% to MSEK 2,729 over the same period. The growth in the number of mobile prepaid and contract subscribers continued during the third quarter, due primarily to Tele2's market position as the price-leading operator. Comviq reported 2.4 subscribers, an annualized increase of 24%. Monthly average revenue per subscriber (ARPU), including both postpaid and prepaid customers, remained stable at SEK 214 compared to SEK 222 over the same period last year and SEK 204 in the second quarter of 2001, despite the higher customer intake during the period. Minutes of usage (MOU) increased by more than 10% from 102 to 113 over the same period and remained stable compared to 114 in the second quarter 2001.
 
Prepaid mobile customers accounted for 61% of the total mobile subscriber base and 90% of net new mobile subscriber additions for Tele2 Sweden in the period.
 
Fixed telephony customer intake in Sweden was strong, increasing 30% on an annualised basis to 1.3 million, whilst EBITDA margin reached 22% in the third quarter of 2001 compared to 12% over the same period last year.
 
In September, Tele2 Sweden launched a cost saving initiative by simplifying Tele2's offering to customers and reducing its domestic workforce by some 7%. In 2002, these actions will save approximately 80 million SEK on an annual basis.
 
In October, Tele2 launched GPRS in Sweden and the offering was well received as access was at a substantial discount to competitors.
 
Denmark and Norway are predominantly fixed telephony operations and reported a total of 1.6 million subscribers. There was growth in all areas of the business in the two countries. In September Tele2 Norge acquired Enitel's private and corporate fixed telephony and dial-up Internet subscribers at a low cost per subscriber.
 
Baltics and Eastern Europe
 
Operating revenue, MSEK 781 (123), +535%
 
EBITDA, MSEK 196 (-6)
 
The Baltic and Eastern Europe market encompasses operations in the Baltics, Poland and the Czech Republic.
 
Baltic and Eastern Europe operating revenues increased to MSEK 781 (123) and EBITDA increased to MSEK 196 (-6).
 
Central Europe
 
Operating revenue, MSEK 4,039 (2,090), +93%
 
EBITDA, MSEK -554 (-1,140)
 
The Central European market encompasses Tele2 operations in Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria and the United Kingdom.
 
Pro forma operating revenues increased to MSEK 4,039 (+93%) for Central Europe. EBITDA for the area improved significantly over the last four quarters. This reflects the maturity of certain of the operations and their progress towards EBITDA breakeven within the three years from operational launch. Strong Q3 ARPU's for Central Europe of SEK 150 (104) on a monthly basis were achieved.
 
On 24 August Tele2 launched the first Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) in The Netherlands. Tele2 signed an agreement with Telfort, a GSM operator owned by British Telecom. The agreement allows Tele2 to offer mobile services to its fixed line customers.
 
Southern Europe
 
Operating revenue, MSEK 4,025 (1,692), +138%
 
EBITDA, MSEK -1,002 (-945)
 
The Southern Europe market includes Tele2 operations in France, Italy and Spain and a license in Portugal.
 
Pro forma operating revenues increased to MSEK 4,025 (+138%) for Southern Europe. The region had a strong first nine months in terms of EBITDA margin growth reflecting particularly the improving profitability of Tele2's operations in France. Tele2 entered the French market in March 1999, and has grown to become the largest private operator in the residential sector with a subscriber base of approximately 2.4 million. Strong Q3 ARPU's for Southern Europe of SEK 125 (95) on a monthly basis were achieved.
 
Tele2 is now one of Italy's second leading private fixed line operators.
 
In the second quarter, Tele2 launched fixed telephony services in Spain and by September 30, 2001 had 169,000 subscribers. Tele2 aims to be the second leading alternative operator by year-end 2001. The network in Spain is IP based using CISCO switches. The company's offering is entirely pre-paid in Spain.
 
Luxembourg
 
Operating revenue, MSEK 557 (412), +35%
 
EBITDA, MSEK 42 (-19)
 
The Luxembourg market includes Tele2 operations in Liechtenstein, Luxembourg and Belgium and 3C companies in all countries of operation.
 
Luxembourg operating revenues increased by 35% to MSEK 557 on a pro forma basis. EBITDA increased to MSEK 42 (-19). Market performance was strong this quarter with a significant improvement of EBITDA margin to 16% and a 6% growth in sales quarter on quarter.
 
Tele2 offers mobile telephony services in Liechtenstein under the Tango brand and launched fixed telephony services under the Tele2 brand in the second half of 2000. In March, Tele2 was awarded a UMTS license in Liechtenstein.
 
In Luxembourg, Tango has a 43 % market share. In March, Tango launched GPRS in Luxembourg.
 
Branded Products and Services
 
Operating revenue, MSEK 1,069 (591), +81%
 
EBITDA, MSEK -305 (-74)
 
Branded Products and Services includes Optimal Telecom, C3, Everyday.com and IntelliNet in all countries of operation.
 
Pro forma operating revenues increased to MSEK 1,069 (+81%) for Branded products and services. The main revenue generators within this area are Optimal Telecom and C3. The market area recorded a third successive quarter of EBITDA improvement.
 
GROUP REVIEW
 
Refinancing
 
Tele2 finalised a €1.2 billion refinancing through ABN Amro, CIBC World Markets plc, ING Bank, Nordea, The Royal Bank of Scotland and West LB. This 5 year, amortizing senior debt facility has replaced the two previous debt facilities, which existed within Tele2 Sweden and the former SEC. This facility ensures that all Tele2 group operations are fully funded with regard to the group's business plan. The applicable margin, which is based on the Debt to EBITDA ratio, starts at 2.25% and will be progressively reduced as EBITDA improves.
 
Cash flows
 
Cash flows from operations increased to 585 as compared to cash flow of 202 in the previous quarter.
 
During the summer months, Tele2 upgraded its billing systems. This upgrade resulted in delays in sending out invoices in few countries and therefore working capital increased over the period. We expect that the level of working capital will normalize in the next quarter.
 
Investments and Divestments
 
Transcom Worldwide SA
 
In January, Tele2 divested its 37.45% holding (acquired through the merger with SEC) in the call center company Transcom Worldwide SA ("Transcom") to Industriförvaltnings AB Kinnevik ("Kinnevik"). At its AGM, the Board of Kinnevik proposed a dividend of Transcom shares to its shareholders and also a public listing of Transcom. On 6 September the shares in Transcom were listed on NASDAQ and Stockholmborsen's O-list. The proceeds due to Tele2 on the sale of its interest in Transcom will be determined by the market price of Transcom's publicly listed equity 60 trading days after the market quotation day. It is therefore anticipated that a capital gain on disposal will be recorded in the income statement in the fourth quarter of 2001.
 
Parent Company
 
At the Parent company level, Tele2 reported operating revenue of MSEK 9 (6) and operating profit of MSEK -32 (196). Liquidity at September 30, 2001 and December 31, 2000 was MSEK 2 and MSEK 7 respectively.
 
COMPANY DISCLOSURE
 
Fourth Quarter of 2001 Results
 
The proposed date for the release of Tele2's financial and operating results for the period ended December 31, 2001 is February 2002 at a date yet to be disclosed.
 
Stockholm, October 24, 2001
 
President and CEO, Tele2 AB
 
REPORT REVIEW
 
The financial and operating results for the period ended September 30, 2001 have not been subject to specific review by the Company's auditor.
 
Tele2 AB, formed in 1993, is the leading alternative pan-European telecommunications company offering fixed and mobile telephony, data network and Internet services under the brands Tele2, Tango and Comviq to 13.7 million people in 21 countries. Tele2 operates Datametrix, which specializes in systems integration, 3C Communications, operating public pay telephones and public Internet services; Transac, providing billing and transaction processing service; C³, offering co-branded pre-paid calling cards and IntelliNet and Optimal Telecom, the price-guaranteed residential router device. The Group offers cable television services under the Kabelvision brand name and together with MTG, owns the Internet portal Everyday.com. The Company is listed on the Stockholmsbörsen, under TEL2A and TEL2B, and on the Nasdaq Stock Market under TLTOA and TLTOB.
 
CONTACTS


 
 
   
Lars-Johan Jarnheimer Telephone: + 46 8 562 640 00
President and CEO, Tele2 AB    
     
 
Hakan Zadler
 
Telephone:
 
+ 46 8 562 640 00
CFO, Tele2 AB    
     
 
Andrew Best
 
Telephone:
 
+ 44 20 7321 5022
Investor enquiries    
     
 
Patrik Linzenbold
 
Telephone:
 
+ 46 8 562 000 53
Press enquiries    
     
 
Visit us at our homepage: http://www.Tele2.com
 
CONFERENCE CALL DETAILS
 
A conference call to discuss the results will be held at 14. 00 (Swedish time) / 08.00 (New York time), on Wednesday, October 24, 2001. The dial in number is: +44 (0) 20 8781 0574 and participants should quote, Tele2 AB. A live audio stream of the conference call can also be accessed at www.Tele2.com. Please dial in / log on 10 minutes prior to the start of the conference call to allow time for registration. An instantaneous recording of the conference call will be available for 48 hours after the call on +44 (0) 20 8288 4459, access code 632792.

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