01.03.2018 - 10:00 Uhr

freenet AG presents record results for 2017 and increases dividends

  • Total revenue increases by 4.3 percent to 3.507 billion euros
  • EBITDA1 increases significantly by 23.3 per cent to 541.2 million euros
  • Free cash flow2 increases slightly to 342.8 million euros
  • Proposed dividend increase to 1.65 euro for 2017
  • Guidance increases for 2018 against the background of a stabile mobile communications business and the growth prospects of the TV segment

The preliminary figures for the financial year 2017 presented a record result for freenet AG. According to the preliminary results at 3.507 billion euros, total sales were 4.3 per cent higher over the previous year (3.362 billion euros). Both the increase in revenues in the stable core business mobile communications as well as the well developing TV business drove this growth.

Revenue in the mobile communication segment has increased to 3.199 billion euros, equal to an increase of 2.3 per cent over the previous year (3.126 billion euros). This positive development is based essentially on the increase in valuable Customer Ownerships in the postpaid as well as no-frills customer ownership to 9.59 million customers at the end of the year 2017 – a total increase of approximately 60,000 customers (previous year: 9.53 million customers). The number of valuable postpaid customers increased by 198,000 (+3.0per cent) to 6.71 million customers over the previous year (6.51 million).

Revenue in the TV and Media Segment increased by 34.7 percent compared with the previous year and amounted to 294.8 million euros in 2017 (previous year: 218.9 million euros). The development in the number of freenet TV subscribers has also been very positive. At the end of December 2017 freenet AG had approximately 975,000 subscribers and exceeded the original target of 800,000 planned for the end of the year as well as the subsequently adjusted target of 950,000 subscribers. With approximately 102,000 customers for the IPTV product waipu.tv the expected number of subscribers (more than 100,000) was also attained. With 464,000 registered customers (excluding 76,000 preregistered customers) the company almost attained the forcast figure of 500,000 customers.

“The development of our TV business in 2017 shows clearly shows that we did a lot right. Within nine months, we were able to convince almost one million paying users of freenet TV, and with waipu.tv we have become the market leader in regard to paying users within a short time,” so Christoph Vilanek, CEO of freenet AG. “I am especially happy that we have acquired a very large portion of these new TV customers through our own sales organization thereby demonstrated our TV competence in a direct customer discussions.”

EBITDA increased due to the one-off effect from the “Sunrise Tower Deal“ by a significant 102.4 million euros to 541.2 million euros and was thus considerably higher than the previous years figure of 438.8 million euros. EBITDA excluding Sunrise amounted to 408.0 million euros, representing an increase of 5.7 million euros compared with the previous year.

 Group result developed positively and increased in the reporting year, compared with the previous year by 27.3 percent, to 275.6 million euros (previous year: 216.4 million euros). The group result benefitted significantly from a one-off effect of the higher result contribution of the Sunrise participation. At 2.24 euros, earnings per share are also higher than in the previous year with 1.78 euros per share.

In the reporting period, free cash flow was stable at 342.8 million euros (previous year: 341.5 million euros). Even if the dividend payment of 34.4 million euros received from Sunrise is eliminated, the forecast figure of approximately 310 million euros is attained.

“We can look back on a positive financial year 2017, where we have achieved all the important targets of our guidance“, so Joachim Preisig, CFO of freenet AG. “I’m especially pleased that we remain true to our dividend policy and will yet again propose an increased dividend of 1.65 euro per share to the Supervisory Board.“

The freenet Group continues to pursue its constant dividend policy which focusses on shareholder value and provides for a dividend of between 50 and 70 per cent of annual free cash flow being paid out to its shareholders. The Executive Board will accordingly propose to the Supervisory Board the payment of a dividend of 1.65 euros per eligible share for the financial year 2017.

 For the current financial year the company aims to achieve a stable group revenue, EBITDA exclusive Sunrise of between 410 million euros and 430 million euros and a free cash flow exclusive Sunrise of between 290 million euros and 310 million euros. Postpaid ARPU and customer ownership are expected to be stable in 2018, whereby the particularly valuable customer base is expected to rise further. In TV business, freenet expects to see an increasing number of subscribers for both TV products.

freenet Group will present the definitive financial figures for 2017 probably on 22 March 2018.

1) Earnings before interest and taxes, including the earnings element of companies included using the equity method (EBIT), excluding depreciation and deferred taxes resulting from the subsequent recognition of companies included using the equity method and including write-downs and impairments.

2) Cash flow from operating activities, minus investments in property, plant and equipment and intangible assets, plus proceeds from the disposals of property, plant and equipment and intangible assets.

Disclaimer:

This report contains forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by the Executive Board of freenet AG. Known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors can lead to a situation where the actual developments, and in particular the results, financial position and transactions of our company diverge substantially from the forward-looking statements made here. The company assumes no obligation to update these forward-looking statements or to adjust them to future results or developments. All of the disclosures are based on provisional calculations made prior to the final consolidation and the conclusion of the audit. These may therefore diverge from the final corporate figures to be presented on 22 March 2018.


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