Execution gains momentum:
Another quarter of double-digit growth
Raising full year EBITDA guidance
Amsterdam (28 October 2021) - VEON Ltd. (VEON) announces results for the third quarter ended 30 September 2021.
- Strong year-over-year revenue performance in both reported currency (+10.2%) and local currency (+11.2%)
- Strong acceleration in Beeline Russia’s total revenue and service revenue performance, which were up 8.2% and 4.7% YoY in local currency respectively (+8.3% and +4.8% YoY reported respectively)
- EBITDA increased strongly year-over-year in both reported currency (+8.6%) and local currency (+9.1%)
- Equity free cash flow for the quarter of USD 308 million showing a significant improvement over prior quarters
- 4G subscribers increased to 93.8 million, reaching penetration of 46.2%, up 10.3 p.p. YoY and 3.0 p.p. QoQ
- JazzCash in Pakistan reached 13.9 million monthly active users, and Toffee TV in Bangladesh reached 6.3 million monthly active users.
- FY2021 Group EBITDA guidance raised to minimum local currency growth of 8%. On Group revenues guidance, we maintain high single-digit local currency growth for the full financial year
- Algeria has become a discontinued operation, is accounted for as an “Asset held for sale” and does not contribute to both the comparison base and the actual reported numbers
- With reported revenues up 10.2% YoY and local currency revenues growing 11.2% YoY, VEON recorded double digit growth for the second consecutive quarter in 3Q21.
- Beeline Russia continued to execute on its turnaround, as revenue growth accelerated with 3Q21 local currency revenue growth of 8.2% YoY and local currency mobile service revenue growth of 4.5%. Beeline added 0.5 million mobile customers in last quarter reaching 50.6m (+1.7% YoY).
- All of our countries posted local currency revenue growth, with double digit performance from Kazakhstan (+25.5% YoY), Georgia (+21.4% YoY), Pakistan (+13.0% YoY), Ukraine (+11.9% YoY) and Uzbekistan (+10.4% YoY).
- Group EBITDA increased by 8.6% YoY in reported terms, and 9.1% YoY in local currency. This solid result was driven primarily by robust local-currency EBITDA performance in Ukraine (+11.4% YoY) and Kazakhstan (+36.7% YoY). Russian posted a second consecutive quarter of positive EBITDA with local currency growth of 1.9%.
- Group capex stood at USD 381 million, supporting the continued expansion of our 4G customer base, which increased by 24.7 million YoY and 7.0 million QoQ. Total Group 4G users reached 93.8 million, corresponding to 4G subscriber penetration of 46.2% at quarter-end. The Group also recorded a QoQ increase in its total subscribers, which grew by 3.2 million in 3Q21 to reach 202.9 million.
- Mobile data revenue increased by 18.8% YoY in local currency (18.1% YoY reported), driven by our ongoing 4G focus. A noteworthy contribution to our data revenue growth came from Pakistan (+25.5% YoY), Kazakhstan (+40.3% YoY) and Bangladesh (+32.0% YoY).
- JazzCash closed the quarter with 13.9 million monthly active users (+43.6% YoY), Toffee TV in Bangladesh reached 6.3 million monthly active users from 1.8 million a year ago; and Beeline TV in Russia hit 3.1 million monthly active users (+16.7% YoY) in 3Q21.
- We remain focused on active portfolio management and the pursuit of opportunities to realize the value of our infrastructure portfolio. On 6 September 2021, VEON announced that it had reached an agreement to sell its mobile network towers in Russia to Service-Telecom Group of Companies LLC for a total consideration of RUB 70.65 billion (USD 970 million equivalent), subject to customary regulatory approvals.
- Group net debt of USD 8.2bn (of which lease liabilities were USD 1.8bn) at the end of 3Q resulted in a net debt/EBITDA ratio of around 2.5x. These figures reflect cash capex of approximately USD 347mn in the quarter. The Group’s cost of debt (excluding leases) in 3Q21 increased to 6.3% from 6.1% in 3Q20, while debt maturity (excluding leases) increased to 3.2 years, from 2.8 years in 3Q20.
KEY RECENT DEVELOPMENTS
- 17 August 2021, Michael Schulz joined VEON as Group Chief People Officer
- 6 September 2021, VEON announced the sale of its Russian tower assets for USD 970 million
- 9 September 2021, VEON announced the pricing of its 5-year RUB 20 billion 8.125% notes issued under its GMTN programme
- 21 October 2021, VEON announced that its Group General Counsel Scott Dresser will be leaving the Company effective 31 December 2021
- 26 October 2021, VEON published its integrated report for 2020
Kaan Terzioğlu commented on 3Q21 results:
“Our successful execution along VEON’s 3 strategic pillars - infrastructure, digital operator transformation and Ventures - is moving full steam ahead and bearing fruit. With this we have now delivered five consecutive quarters of improvement in both operational and financial performance.
All of our operating companies have recorded year-over-year total revenue growth, with 5 of them reporting double-digit growth. I am particularly pleased that Beeline Russia’s strong performance has continued to accelerate further in the month of September with total revenues up 8.2% and mobile service revenue growth of 4.5% making Beeline Russia a significant contributor to our Group’s revenue growth.
These financial results are built on strong operational foundations as we strengthen our 4G subscriber base - now 46% of our customers. With significantly higher ARPU and lower churn, they form the fundamental building block of our present and future growth as we execute on our digital operator transformation.
Our operating companies are widening and deepening their relationship with the users of our digital services. In Q3, Toffee TV reached 6.3 million YoY growth and Beeline TV reached 3.1 million subscribers with 17% YoY growth.
We are making progress in crystallising the value of our infrastructure assets. The agreement that we have reached for the sale of our Russia towers is a first and an important step in our transition towards an asset-light model while maintaining our competitiveness.
As we deliver on our targets and strategy, we remain focused on the long-term financial health and sustainability of the Group. Improving cash flow trends is proof of our disciplined approach in this area. With the achievements of this quarter, we are well positioned for sustained growth and confident in the longer-term value creation for all our stakeholders.”
VEON is a NASDAQ and Euronext Amsterdam-listed global provider of connectivity and digital services, headquartered in Amsterdam. Our vision is to empower customer ambitions through technology, acting as a digital concierge to guide their choices and connect them with resources that match their needs.
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 the rest of 2021, including VEON’s ability to generate 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 has negatively affected VEON’s operations and financial condition in the past; 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 pandemic; 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 investment 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”) on March 15, 2021 and other public filings made from time to time 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 earnings release (including, without limitation, EBITDA, EBITDA margin, net debt, equity free cash flow, local currency trends, operating capital expenditures and capex intensity) 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.
Investor RelationsNik Kershaw