03.03.2016 - 08:05 Uhr

freenet AG has highly successful year in 2015

• Customer ownership grows by 376 thousand to 9.30 million accompanied by stable ARPU
• Group revenue increases by 2.5 per cent to 3.118 billion euros
• Group EBITDA increases by 1.3 per cent to 370.2 million euros
• Free cash flow up by 6.7 per cent to 284.5 million euros
• Dividend proposal of 1.55 euros per share for 2015

In response to provisional figures, freenet AG is drawing positive conclusions about the financial year 2015 and has outperformed the business outlook for 2015 that it published in 2014.

Customer ownership (aggregate total of contract and no-frills customers) increased during the year by 376 thousand to 9.30 million participants (previous year: 8.92 million). The number of particularly high-value contract customers (postpaid customers) increased by more than 300 thousand year-on-year from 6.01 million to 6.31 million. The no-frills customer group, which can be accessed largely particularly via online sales channels, grew by 78 thousand to 2.99 million participants as at 31 December 2015 (previous year: 2.91 million).

Based on the provisional figures, freenet AG generated Group revenue of 3.118 billion euros in the past financial year. This constitutes an increase of 2.5 per cent compared to the 3.041 billion euros earned in the previous year.

The company generated Group EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) totalling 370.2 million euros (previous year: 365.6 million euros) and free cash flow* of 284.5 million euros (previous year: 266.6 million euros).

Dividend proposal

Due to the positive development of business in 2015 as documented in the provisional figures, the Executive Board is going to propose to the Supervisory Board the distribution of a dividend in the amount of 1.55 euros per no-par-value share with eligibility for dividends for the financial year 2015. “In taking this step, we are adhering firmly to our dividend strategy. The increase of 5 cents is attractive/pleasing for our investors,” says Joachim Preisig, CFO of freenet AG.

Based on the positive preliminary business results for 2015 and against the background of the acquisition of MEDIA BROADCAST Group and the investment in EXARING AG, the Executive Board additionally resolved that it would be adjusting the guidance for the financial year 2016 that was communicated in the Group management report pertaining to the consolidated financial statements for the financial year 2014.

The company is now aiming for an increase of Group revenue in the ongoing financial year (previously: slight increase), EBITDA of slightly above 400 million euros (previously: around 375 million euros) and free cash flow of some 300 million euros (previously: around 285 million euros). The targets for the development of the performance indicators postpaid ARPU and customer ownership in the financial year 2016 remain unchanged: The company is remaining true to its expectation for a stabilisation of postpaid ARPU at the level of 2015 and a slight increase in customer numbers in the customer ownership area compared to the financial year 2015.

To underline the sustainability of the business model, the Executive Board additionally intends to propose to the Supervisory Board and the 2017 Annual General Meeting that they distribute a dividend in the amount of 1.60 euros per share with eligibility for dividends for the financial year 2016. The Executive Board is thereby presenting its shareholders with the prospect of a dividend payout that represents a continuous increase in comparison with the previous years and with the dividend proposal for the financial year 2015.

“The acquisition of the Media Broadcast Group and the investment in EXARING AG constitute an important enhancement for our company in its strategic development as a digital lifestyle provider. With our recently optimised financing structure, we now have sufficient funds to exploit the full growth potential of digital lifestyle in the new area of linear and internet-based television,” underlines Christoph Vilanek.

* Free cash flow is defined as cash flow from current operating activities, less investments in property, plant and equipment and intangible assets, plus the cash inflows from disposals of intangible assets and property, plant and equipment.

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