Belgium’s Mobistar has published its financial results for the three months ended 31 March 2014, reporting a more than 19% year-on-year drop in consolidated turnover against the same period of 2013. In the quarter under review Mobistar generated revenues of EUR317.0 million (USD434 million), down from EUR393.0 million, while the company noted that excluding the regulatory impact of EUR6.2 million total consolidated turnover was down by 18.1 % y-o-y. Service revenues, meanwhile, totalled EUR278.1 million, down from EUR332.0 million, and while this represented a 16.2% annual decline, Mobistar was keen to point to the fact that it represented something of a turnaround, with the operator having posted increasing revenue declines in the previous four quarters of 7.4% (1Q13), 11.1% (2Q13), 14.3% (3Q13) and 21.4% (4Q13). While the company also noted that ‘for the first time in years’ mobile service revenues in Belgium had not been affected by a further reduction in mobile termination rates (MTRs), it did say that a ‘substantial’ MTR drop in Luxembourg had impacted its subsidiary there.
Mobistar recorded a restated earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of EU66.1 million in 1Q 2014, down by 33.2% against the corresponding quarter of 2013, while the restated EBITDA margin amounted to 23.8% of service revenues. Investments, which the company said were mainly network related, were ‘ramping up’, to which end in the first three months of 2014 it spent EUR37.4 million, up by 19.9% y-o-y. Operational cash flow meanwhile amounted to EUR27.1 million, a year-on-year drop of 59.9%.
In operational terms, at the end of March 2014 Mobistar had 5.150 million connected SIM cards on its books, up from 4.900 million a year earlier, though notably its direct customer base actually fell by 8.4% to 3.091 million from 3.375 million. Customers signed up to mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) operating over the Mobistar network, however, climbed significantly, rising to 1.310 million at end-March 2014 from just over 973,000 twelve months previously. M2M SIM cards accounted for the remaining 749,055 of the total, having increased from 550,487 at end-March 2013. Both fixed and mobile internet subscriber numbers declined, with Mobistar’s ADSL customer base slumping to 41,743, representing a more than 40% decline against the previous year. Mobile internet customers by contrast fell by 21.3% to 111,361. Fixed voice accesses too continued to decline, standing at 225,759 at end-March 2014, down from 262,204 a year earlier.