Belgian fixed line incumbent Belgacom has published its financial results for the year ended 31 December 2013, with the telco posting a 2.2% year-on-year drop in revenues. In the period under review Belgacom generated a total turnover of EUR6.318 billion (USD8.26 billion), down from a restated figure of EUR6.462 billion in the previous year. Excluding capital gains (EUR31 million) and other one-off impacts, meanwhile, group revenue was actually down 2.9%, or EUR186 million, against FY2012, though Belgacom highlighted the fact that EUR85 million of that was the result of regulatory impacts; the remaining revenue loss was said to be largely related to competitive pressures in the mobile arena.
Full year earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for 2013 stood at EUR1.713 billion, representing a 4.9% decline against the previous fiscal year. Again, excluding one-offs the year-on-year drop was higher at 8.7%, with Belgacom noting that regulatory measures had reduced group EBITDA by approximately EUR48 million. Net income for FY2013 was EUR630 million, around EUR82 million lower than the figure reported for 2012.
In terms of investments, in 2013 Belgacom said it had spent a total of EUR852 million, or 13.5% of group revenue, excluding the acquisition of new spectrum in the last quarter of the year; in December 2013 it paid out a further EUR120 million for a 20-year 800MHz concession.
As at end-December 2013 Belgacom’s fixed voice subscriber base totalled 2.926 million, down from 3.074 million a year earlier, of which 1.718 million were residential consumers and the remainder businesses users. Fixed broadband accesses, meanwhile, stood at 1.676 million at the end of the fiscal year, up marginally from 1.636 million. In the mobile arena, Belgacom’s Proximus-branded service registered an increase in business customers which helped to offset falling residential subscriber numbers. With residential accesses declining from 3.643 million at 31 December 2012 to 3.568 million a year later, the number of business customers rose from 1.486 million to 1.633 million over those same dates.
Commenting on the company’s annual performance, Belgacom CEO Dominique Leroy noted: ‘We closed what was undoubtedly a challenging and eventful year. A year in which Belgacom proved how valuable its consistent convergence strategy is, and how this strength makes it more resilient than some of its peers. This was evident in the last quarter of 2013 too, as our combined Fixed-Mobile offers, along with a successful year-end campaign, drove a solid operational performance, with strong subscriber growth for TV, Internet and Mobile.’