Strong growth in revenue and EBITDA across the Group Full-year 2021 revenue and EBITDA guidance raised
Amsterdam, 30 August 2021 – VEON Ltd. (NASDAQ: VEON, Euronext Amsterdam: VEON), a leading global provider of connectivity and digital services, today announces results for the second quarter ended 30 June 2021:
- A return to growth of Group revenue and EBITDA on a reported basis and continued acceleration on a local currency basis
- Beeline Russia reports growth in total revenue, service revenue and EBITDA, up in local currency terms 6.2%, 2.7% and 2.2% YoY respectively
- Strong revenue performance on a local currency basis for the Group
- Digital services continue to expand their reach, with more than 38 million monthly active users across our digital product offerings
- Continued progress in optimizing our capital structure, lowering cost of debt, lengthening maturities and increasing local currency funding
- FY2021 revenue guidance increased to high single-digit growth, and FY2021 EBITDA guidance increased to mid to high single-digit growth on a local currency basis
- Strong 2Q21 Group results, with reported revenues up 9.2% YoY, with growth in local currency revenues of 11.3% YoY; an acceleration from the 4.2% YoY growth recorded in 1Q21. Russia showed improved execution in its quarterly revenue trends, with 2Q21 local currency growth of 6.2% YoY.
- Reported Group EBITDA increased by 8.7% YoY, while in local currency terms EBITDA increased 10.7% YoY. This solid result was driven by robust local-currency EBITDA performance in Ukraine (+17% YoY), Kazakhstan (+21% YoY) and Pakistan (+14.5% YoY). Russia returned to positive local currency EBITDA growth (+2.2%).
- Implementation of our investment plans continued, with total operational capex of USD 505 million bringing our 12-month capex intensity to 24.3%, supporting the continued expansion of our 4G customer base during the period. The combined 4G population coverage of our operating companies reached 77%, an increase of 10p.p. YoY.
- The Group’s 4G user base increased by 26 million YoY and 6 million QoQ, enabled by the pace of our innovative network investments, our digital offerings and our quality of service, resulting in total 4G users of 93 million. 4G subscriber penetration stood at 43% at quarter-end. The Group also recorded a QoQ increase in its total subscribers, which grew by 0.9 million in 2Q21 to 214 million.
- Mobile data revenues increased by 19% YoY in local currency (17% YoY reported), driven by the growth in 4G users with correspondingly higher ARPUs. We continue to expect the growth in 4G users and the associated increased 4G penetration to be a key tailwind for the Group over the next few years.
- VEON’s digital businesses continued to perform well. JazzCash closed the quarter with 13 million monthly active users (+61% YoY), Toffee TV in Bangladesh reached 5 million monthly active users from launch in November 2019 and Beeline TV in Russia had 3.0 million monthly active users (+24% YoY) in 2Q21.
- Group net debt of USD 8.5bn (of which lease liabilities were USD 2.0bn) at the end of 2Q resulted in a net debt/EBITDA ratio of around 2.4. These figures reflect cash capex costs of approximately USD 475m in the quarter. Over the past 12 months, the Group’s cost of debt (excluding leases) declined to 6.1% from 6.4%, while debt maturity (excluding leases) increased to 3.2 years, from 2.8 years in 2Q20.
Key recent developments:
- On 10 June 2021, VEON held its Annual General Meeting, where its Shareholders elected Irene Shvakman, Sergi Herrero and Vasily Sidorov to its Board of Directors replacing Osama Bedier, Peter Derby and Amos Genish
- Jazz Pakistan secured a 10-year PKR 50 billion syndicated credit facility
- JazzCash launched a new business app for merchant users
- Kyivstar’s Smart Money app awarded ‘Best Fintech Service’ at Leaders in Fintech and Digital Banking awards
- Beeline Kazakhstan launched ‘Simply’, the nation’s first digital payment card
- Beeline Russia accelerated its plans for the roll-out of regional AdTech services through the acquisition of OTM
- On 1 July 2021, VEON announced the exercise of its put option to sell its stake in Djezzy. Price will be set in accordance with a contractually determined process
- In July 2021, VEON announced that Stephen Pusey decided to step down from its Board of Directors
- VEON's MSCI ESG rating upgraded from BBB to single-A
- Fitch reaffirms VEON’s credit rating at BBB- with a Stable outlook
Kaan Terzioğlu commented on 2Q21 results:
“This was a very strong quarter for the Group, which supported our further upward revision to our Group revenue and EBITDA guidance for the full year period. The underlying operational execution of our Digital Operator model is gaining further traction across our Group, opening up exciting prospects both for our customers and for our stakeholders.
Our ongoing focus on growing our 4G customers remains a key driver of this performance. They now account for 43% of our total base, a 11 percentage-point growth over the past year. This translates into better services and overall performance, and will continue to provide traction to our business for the rest of this year and beyond as we build out our Digital Operator model across our markets.
Another quarter of strong execution in Russia is particularly noteworthy: following the return to growth of total revenues and service revenues earlier, we saw Beeline Russia reporting growth in mobile service revenue for the full quarter. The business continues to benefit from our ongoing network investment and the focus on customer experience.
I am also pleased to report that we have made further progress on streamlining and rationalizing our portfolio with the exercise of the put option in Algeria. While this transaction is still in progress, it does support our previous commitment on re-focusing our portfolio on markets where the regulatory environment is supportive of shareholder value creation.”
VEON is a NASDAQ and Euronext Amsterdam-listed global provider of connectivity and digital services, headquartered in Amsterdam.
For more information, visit: http://www.veon.com.
This press release contains “forward-looking statements”, as the phrase is defined in Section 27A of the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the U.S. Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. These forward-looking statements may be identified by words such as “may,” “might,” “will,” “could,” “would,” “should,” “expect,” “plan,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “seek,” “believe,” “estimate,” “predict,” “potential,” “continue,” “contemplate,” “possible” and other similar words. Forward-looking statements include statements relating to, among other things, VEON’s plans to implement its strategic priorities, including operating model and development plans, among others; anticipated performance and guidance for 2021, including VEON’s ability to sufficient cash flow; VEON’s assessment of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its current and future operations and financial condition; future market developments and trends; operational and network development and network investment, including expectations regarding the roll-out and benefits of 3G/4G/LTE networks, as applicable; spectrum acquisitions and renewals; the effect of the acquisition of additional spectrum on customer experience; VEON’s ability to realize the acquisition and disposition of any of its businesses and assets and to execute its strategic transactions in the timeframes anticipated, or at all; VEON’s ability to realize financial improvements, including an expected reduction of net pro-forma leverage ratio following the successful completion of certain dispositions and acquisitions; our dividends; and VEON’s ability to realize its targets and commercial initiatives in its various countries of operation. The forward-looking statements included in this press release are based on management’s best assessment of VEON’s strategic and financial position and of future market conditions, trends and other potential developments. These discussions involve risks and uncertainties. The actual outcome may differ materially from these statements as a result of further unanticipated developments related to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as the effect on consumer spending, that negatively affected VEON’s operations and financial condition; demand for and market acceptance of VEON’s products and services; our plans regarding our dividend payments and policies, as well as our ability to receive dividends, distributions, loans, transfers or other payments or guarantees from our subsidiaries; continued volatility in the economies in VEON’s markets; including adverse macroeconomic developments related to the COVID-19 outbreak; unforeseen developments from competition; governmental regulation of the telecommunications industries; general political uncertainties in VEON’s markets; government investigations or other regulatory actions; litigation or disputes with third parties or regulatory authorities or other negative developments regarding such parties; the impact of export controls and laws affecting trade and investments on our and important third-party suppliers' ability to procure goods, software or technology necessary for the services we provide to our customers; risks associated with data protection or cyber security, other risks beyond the parties’ control or a failure to meet expectations regarding various strategic priorities, the effect of foreign currency fluctuations, increased competition in the markets in which VEON operates and the effect of consumer taxes on the purchasing activities of consumers of VEON’s services. Certain other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those discussed in any forward-looking statements include the risk factors described in VEON’s Annual Report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2020 filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) and other public filings made by VEON with the SEC. Other unknown or unpredictable factors also could harm our future results. New risk factors and uncertainties emerge from time to time and it is not possible for our management to predict all risk factors and uncertainties, nor can we assess the impact of all factors on our business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements. Under no circumstances should the inclusion of such forward-looking statements in this press release be regarded as a representation or warranty by us or any other person with respect to the achievement of results set out in such statements or that the underlying assumptions used will in fact be the case. Therefore, you are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements speak only as of the date hereof. We cannot assure you that any projected results or events will be achieved. Except to the extent required by law, we disclaim any obligation to update or revise any of these forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, after the date on which the statements are made, or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events. Furthermore, elements of this press release contain or may contain, “inside information” as defined under the Market Abuse Regulation (EU) No. 596/2014.All non-IFRS measures disclosed further in this press release (including, without limitation, EBITDA, EBITDA margin, EBT, net debt, Equity Free Cash Flow, local currency growth, operating capital expenditures and LTM (last twelve months) operational capex/revenue) are reconciled to comparable IFRS measures in Attachment C to this earnings release. In addition, we present certain information on a forward-looking basis. We are not able to, without unreasonable efforts, provide a full reconciliation to IFRS due to potentially high variability, complexity and low visibility as to the items that would be excluded from the comparable IFRS measure in the relevant future period, including, but not limited to, depreciation and amortization, impairment loss, loss on disposal of non-current assets, financial income and expenses, foreign currency exchange losses and gains, income tax expense and performance transformation costs, cash and cash equivalents, long - term and short-term deposits, interest accrued related to financial liabilities, other unamortized adjustments to financial liabilities, derivatives, and other financial liabilities.
Communications & Investor RelationsNik Kershaw