CEO Word Q1 2019
In the first quarter of 2019 we started laying the foundation for future growth. We launched Com Hem mobile as a new growth driver and continued to see early progress on our FMC strategy with 45,000 customers now on FMC-offers. We are on track to reach our full year guidance with flat end-user service revenue and strong growth in underlying EBITDA excluding IFRS 16. This is largely driven by the integration and cost restructuring process which is well under way.
Q1 2019 summary
Group organic end-user service revenue (EUSR) was flat in the quarter with the Baltics growing 7 percent while Sweden declined by 1 percent. Group underlying EBITDA excluding IFRS 16 grew by 8 percent with the Baltics growing by 16 percent and Sweden by 5 percent driven by cost reduction. In the Sweden Consumer segment, total EUSR declined by 1 per- cent as growth in core services was offset by decline in legacy ser- vices and Landlord & other. Core services, representing over 70 per- cent of the segment’s EUSR, grew by 3 percent, with Mobile Postpaid growing 2 percent, Fixed Broadband growing 8 percent while Digital TV via Cable & Fiber declined by 1 percent. Legacy services, includ- ing Mobile Prepaid, DTT and Fixed telephony & DSL, declined by 11 percent. We believe that initiatives taken since the merger including launch of Com Hem mobile and migration of customers into FMC benefit plans will enhance growth in core services over time and offset decline in legacy services. In the Sweden Business segment, we saw continued mobile EUSR growth of 1 percent driven by higher customer intake, offset by a drag from legacy products resulting in a 2 percent decline in total EUSR.
Several growth drivers to bring stable growth
Since the merger with Com Hem we have introduced several new growth drivers such as cross selling mobile into the fixed consumer base through Com Hem mobile, selling fixed into the mobile con- sumer base, reducing churn through FMC benefits and refocusing the B2B business on profitable growth. These initiatives will take some time before they gain enough momentum to get to the low single digit EUSR we guide for the mid-term. Further, our strategy is to reach our growth targets by running several growth drivers in parallel, without pushing each of them too hard, and avoiding actions that may increase cost or be too disruptive. In addition we are also evaluating new initiatives which could help further secure future growth.
Delivering on cost synergies
While we are setting Tele2 up for future revenue growth we have also started executing on cost reduction, making progress toward the cost synergy target. In the quarter we realized SEK 50 million of cost synergies, and reached an annualized run-rate of SEK 300 “We aim to combine the disciplined and predictable pricing of the fixed market with the agile, customer-friendly mobile market to capitalize on the demand for household connectivity” million at the end of the quarter out of the target SEK 900 million after three years. The cost reductions were mainly related to head count reduction in common functions and the Sweden Consumer segment. We incurred SEK 155 million of integration costs this quarter and have so far incurred SEK 365 million of the expected SEK 1 billion of restructuring costs.
We aim to combine the disciplined and predictable pricing of the fixed market with the agile, customer-friendly mobile market to capitalize on the demand for household connectivity.
Having completed the first full quarter after the merger with Com Hem we see that the cost transformation is on track. Focus going forward will be to reignite growth through our pipeline of initia- tives. As we transform Tele2 into a truly integrated operator, we will increasingly look at the market as a whole rather than split into mobile and fixed silos, both internally and commercially. This will not only reduce cost but also create growth as we aim to combine the disciplined and predictable pricing of the fixed market with the agile, customer-friendly mobile market to capitalize on the demand for household connectivity through a more-for-more FMC strategy. We think that this strategy will be beneficial for all stakeholders in the market as we move from being a cost-cutting play, operating in two stagnant markets, mobile and fixed, to become an efficient challenger in a growing three-player FMC-market with focus on customer satisfaction.
President and CEO