Iliad : An organic growth profile unlike any other telco in Europe
11/16/2021 | 02:36am EST
Paris, November 16, 2021, 8:00 a.m.
An organic growth profile unlike any other telco in Europe
In the third quarter of 2021, the iliad Group further demonstrated its ability to generate revenue growth, combining net adds with increases in ARPU.
Pro forma like-for-like1 growth for services revenues reached 5.9% in the third quarter (6.3% in the second quarter), and 6.6% excluding the regulatory impacts in Poland.
The Group recorded subscriber and ARPU growth in all of its operating countries, clearly illustrating the power of its brands, its effective sales strategy and its ability to innovate and continue to differentiate:
France saw another period of high growth in the third quarter, with revenue up 4.7%2 year on year, driven by a stronger performance for the Fixed business and a good value/volume mix for Mobile. It was France's best quarter since Q1 2018 in terms of 4G/5G subscriber recruitment.
In Poland, services revenues growth slowed to 2.3% following the implementation of new mobile termination tariffs as from July 1. However, excluding this regulatory impact, growth2 was 6.2% versus 4.6% in the second quarter, and sales continued to fare well.
The pace of growth2 accelerated slightly in Italy, coming in at 21.0% for the third quarter, led by an upswing in net adds despite even fiercer competition.
On October 13, iliad Holding successfully placed a c. €3.7 billion four-tranche bond issue with European and American investors. The success of the issue clearly demonstrates investors' support for the decision to delist iliad SA, as well as the Group's solid business development outlook in Europe. The acquisition of UPC Poland - which is expected to complete in early 2022 - forms part of the same overall growth objective.
Meanwhile, drawing on its solid third-quarter results, the Group is continuing to implement the pledges in its Climate Strategy.
Calculated as if Play had been consolidated as from January 1, 2020
Growth in services revenues
Commenting on iliad's performance, Thomas Reynaud, the Group's Chief Executive Officer, said: "As ourthird-quarterresults demonstrate, the iliad Group boasts unrivaled growth potential. We are increasing our market share in each of our three host countries. In France,take-upof Fiber is accelerating and we now have more Fiber subscribers than DSL subscribers. Our network rollout policy in Italy is paying off, with a sharp increase in EBITDAaL expected in the second half of the year. And in Poland, a year on from the acquisition, the consolidation of Play can be described as a success."
Key operating performance indicators at September 30, 2021
Number of mobile subscribers
o/w on the Free Mobile Unlimited 4G/5G
o/w on the voice-based plan
of Broadband and Ultra-Fast Broadband
Total number of subscribers - France
Number of connectible Fiber sockets
Broadband and Ultra-Fast Broadband ARPU (in €)2
Mobile ARPU billed to subscribers (in €)2
Number of mobile subscribers
Number of active mobile subscribers2
o/w on plans
Number of Home subscribers2
Total number of subscribers - Poland2
Mobile ARPU billed to subscribers (in PLN)3
50/100/150 GB for non-Freebox subscribers 2 See glossary for definitions 3 ARPU calculated based on revenues billed to mobile subscribers
Third-quarter 2021 revenues
The table below shows the breakdown of consolidated revenues by category for the nine-month and three-month periods ended September 30, 2021 and September 30, 2020.
In € millions
Consolidated services revenues1
Consolidated revenues from devices
Total intra-group sales
Revenues - France
By type of revenues
o/w Fixed services
o/w Mobile services
o/w billed to subscribers
- Intra-group sales - France
Revenues - Italy
- Mobile services
o/w billed to subscribers
Revenues - Poland3
o/w Mobile services billed to
o/w Interconnection & other services4
Excluding intra-group sales for the Group and for France (2) Mainly interconnection revenues (3) EUR/PLN: 4.5473 for 9M 2021
Mainly interconnection, wholesale and B2B services revenues
Key figures and events of third-quarter 2021
The Group's active subscriber base grew by 634,000 in the third quarter of 2021, breaking down as 552,000 new subscribers for Mobile services and 82,000 for Fixed. At end-September, the Group had 40.82 million total active subscribers (33.7 million for Mobile and 7.1 million for Fixed).
Consolidated revenues advanced 34.6% to €1.91 billion in the third quarter of 2021, spurred by the consolidation of Play in Poland (since November 18, 2020) and solid growth for Free in France and iliad in Italy. Excluding Play, Q3 consolidated revenues were 6.3% higher than in Q2 (6.6% excluding sales of devices). For the first nine months of 2021, consolidated revenues came in at €5.63 billion, up 34.0% year on year, or 5.4% excluding the consolidation of Play.
The Group's total number of Fixed subscribers in France rose by 45,000 in the third quarter of 2021, bringing the number of net adds since the beginning of the year to 135,000. The Fiber subscriber base continued to see firm growth, with 228,000 new subscribers signing up to the Group's Fiber plans in Q3 2021 (743,000 since the beginning of the year). At end-September 2021, the Group had a total of 3.55 million Fiber subscribers, with the penetration rate among the overall subscriber base up 14 points year on year at 51.7%.
With 295,000 net adds in Q3, the Free Mobile Unlimited 4G/5G Plan3 delivered its best sales performance since the first quarter of 2018, and the total Mobile subscriber base increased by 120,000 net subscribers.
The number of connectible fiber sockets increased by 5.8 million over 12 months, totaling 24.0 million at end-September 2021. The Group's fiber offerings are now available in more than 11,500 municipalities.
Free is actively pursuing its regional 4G and 5G mobile network rollouts across all of France's regions. Since the beginning of the year, Free Mobile has switched on nearly 2,000 new 4G sites and more than 1,800 5G sites and its population coverage rates in France are now 99% for 3G and 4G, and over 70% for 5G. The Group intends to continue investing in coverage and network densification in order to become the alternative operator of choice.
The Group's revenues in France grew by 4.3% to €1.31 billion in the third quarter of 2021 and by 3.3% in the first nine months of the year to €3.85 billion.
350/100/150 GB for non-Freebox subscribers
Services revenues generated by the Fixed business in the third quarter amounted to €716 million, up 6.4% year on year. At €33.0, Fixed ARPU was €1.20 (3.8%) higher than in the third quarter of 2020 and 30 euro cents higher than in second-quarter 2021.
Mobile services revenues climbed 2.5% to €550 million for the third quarter of 2021. Revenues billed to subscribers rose 4.6% year on year in third-quarter 2021, driven by ARPU billed to subscribers which increased 4.7% to €11.4. Other Mobile revenues (mainly corresponding to income from voice and SMS/MMS interconnections) decreased by 6.9%. These revenues (which have low margins) are on a structurally downward trend as traffic is switching to digital platforms.
Sale of devices edged down 3.8% to €42 million in the third quarter, with the initial positive effects of the Group's Free Flex offer not expected to be felt until 2022.
Play delivered another robust sales performance in third-quarter 2021, with the base of active subscribers on contracts (excluding M2M and free SIM cards) increasing by 41,000 (versus a 37,000 rise in the second quarter), and the base of active prepaid subscribers up by 27,000 units. (N.B: the Group has put in place a new method for counting active prepaid subscribers and therefore quarterly figures since Q1 2020 have been adjusted accordingly).
Number of active mobile
o/w on plans
ARPU billed to subscribers (in
In the Home segment, the subscriber base rose by 37,000 units in the third quarter, on a par with the growth figures for the previous two quarters.
Play's value-focused growth strategy is paying off, with ARPU billed to subscribers up 4.4% year on year in the third quarter of 2021 to PLN 29.1 (the figures for ARPU billed to subscribers since Q1 2020 have been adjusted to reflect the new method for counting active prepaid subscribers).
In line with its aim of becoming a convergent fixed-mobile national operator in Poland, on September 22, 2021, the Group announced that it had entered into an agreement to acquire the entire share capital of UPC Poland. The acquisition is expected to close in the first half of 2022.
Revenues generated in Poland in third-quarter 2021 came to PLN 1.83 billion, representing year-on-year growth (on a pro forma, local currency basis) of 1.7%, or 2.3% excluding sales of devices. For the first nine months of the year these growth figures were 3.2% and 3.5% respectively. Excluding the decrease in regulated mobile termination tariffs introduced on July 1, year-on-year growth for the third quarter would have been 4.7% (6.2% excluding sales of devices), corresponding to a stronger performance than in second-quarter 2021.
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