Cellnex ends Q1 2021 with more than 40% growth in revenue, EBITDA and cash flow
May 7, 2021
- The key indicators continue to reflect the Company’s geographic expansion –following the integration of completed acquisitions in 2020 and the first months of 2021– and the strength of its organic business:
- Revenue stands at €506 million (vs 358 million in Q1 2020); EBITDA at €381 million (vs 260 million in Q1 2020); and recurring levered free cash flow at €180 million (vs 127 million in Q1 2020).
- Points of presence (PoPs) grew c.65% (5.5% like-for-like).
- The backlog of future sales contracted, including transactions pending closure and roll-out announced in Italy and the UK (CK Hutchison), France (Hivory), Netherlands (DT) and Poland (Polkomtel Infrastruktura), stands at €110 billion.
- The Company confirms the outlook for FY 2021 with revenue between €2.405 and 2.445 billion, EBITDA between €1.815 and 1.855 billion and a 50% growth in recurring levered free cash flow (€905-925 million).
- Net debt as of 31 March amounted to €8.806 billion (including lease-related liabilities). At present, the average maturity of debt (drawn) is 6.9 years, at an approximate average cost of 1.6%, with 86% at a fixed interest rate.
- In April 2021, Cellnex has an available liquidity (treasury and undrawn debt) of €22.7 billion.
- The Company completed its fourth rights issue, for €7 billion, with 99.37% of the holders of preferential rights taking part in the increase. Investor demand was over 45.6 times the supply of new shares. In the last 24 months, Cellnex has increased its capital by €14.7 billion to continue financing its growth.
- In the first few months of 2021 the Company has announced the completion of the purchase of CK Hutchison’s assets in Sweden and the closing of the acquisition of the sites network held by Play in Poland. During this period, it has also announced an agreement with Deutsche Telekom to integrate T-Mobile Infra sites in the Netherlands, as well as an agreement to acquire the telecommunications infrastructure operator Hivory in France and Polkomtel Infrastrucktura in Poland.
- The Board has approved a dividend payment of €0.0174 per share, charged to the share premium reserve, to be paid out on 17 June.
Barcelona - Cellnex Telecom today presented its results for the first quarter of 2021. Revenue amounts to €506 million (+41%). EBITDA has grown to 381 million (+47%) after consolidating the asset acquisitions carried out in 2020 as well as those conducted in the first months of 2021. Free and recurring cash flow is €180 million (+42%).
The net result was down by €43 million, in line with the first quarter of 2020. This is due to the effect of the higher amortisations (+58% vs 1Q 2020) and financial costs (+33% vs 1Q 2020) associated with the acquisitions undertaken during the quarter and the consequent geographic expansion.
Cellnex CEO Tobias Martínez highlighted the positive growth the Company achieved this quarter: “This has again proved to be a transformative quarter for Cellnex, which reflects the continued success of our growth strategy. We concluded several of the deals we announced in 2020 and reached new agreements in key markets such as France, the Netherlands and Poland. The rights issue demonstrated strong support from our shareholders, which will allow us to capitalise on more opportunities. In addition, we achieved organic growth of over 5 per cent. We are very pleased with the strong growth we derived from both organic and inorganic sources, as reflected in excellent revenues, EBITDA and recurring levered free cash flow. All this allows us to confirm the forecasts for the year as a whole, with revenues in excess of EUR2.4 billion and EBITDA that will top EUR1.8 billion.”
Business lines. Main indicators for the period
- Infrastructure services for mobile telecommunications operators provided 84% of total income, to the value of €426 million, representing a year-on-year increase of 56%.
- At €55 million, activity in broadcasting infrastructures provided 11% of revenue.
- The business focused on security and emergency service networks and solutions for smart urban infrastructure management (IoT and Smart cities) which contributed 5% of revenue, totalling €26 million.
- As of 31 March, 74% of revenue and 81% of EBITDA was generated outside the Spanish market. Italy is the second largest market, accounting for 18% of the Group’s revenue.
- As of 31 March, Cellnex had a total of 68,350 operational sites: 4,470 in Austria, 1,322 in Denmark, 10,550 in France, 1,781 in Ireland, 10,634 in Italy, 924 in the Netherlands, 7,428 in Poland, 5,081 in Portugal, 10,329 in Spain, 2,520 in Sweden, 5,315 in Switzerland and 7,996 in the UK; plus 3,373 DAS nodes and Small Cells (c. 40% more, like-for-like, compared to 2020).
- Organic growth in points of presence at the sites (like-for-like) was around +5% in relation to 2020. The customer ratio per site on a like-for-like basis (excluding planned BTS programmes) was 1.46.
- Total investments executed in the quarter amounted to c. €2.2 billion. These are primarily investments linked to generating new revenue streams, incorporating new assets, the continued integration and roll-out of new infrastructures, improvements in efficiency and maintenance of installed capacity.
- The backlog of future sales contracted by the Group, including transactions pending completion and roll-out announced for France, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and the UK stands at €110 billion.
Cellnex has a debt structure marked by the flexibility, low cost and high average life provided by the various instruments used.
- The Group’s net debt as of 31 March stood at €8.806 billion (including lease-related liabilities) compared to €6.5 billion at the close of 2020.
- At present, the average maturity of debt (drawn) is 9 years, at an approximate average cost of 1.6%, with 86% at a fixed interest rate.
- Throughout this period the company has performed two bond issues, one in February in three tranches for a total of 2.5 billion EUR and one in March for 150 million CHF.
- In April 2021, Cellnex has access to immediate liquidity (cash + undrawn debt) to the value of approximately €22.7 billion.
- Cellnex Telecom’s bond issues maintain their ‘investment grade’ rating from Fitch (BBB- with a stable outlook), confirmed in March. S&P maintains the BB+ rating with a stable outlook confirmed by the agency last November.
Successful completion of a fourth rights issue in two years, to finance growth
In April, Cellnex successfully completed the €7 billion rights issue, which was subscribed to by the vast majority (99.37%) of Cellnex’s preferential rights holders. Investor demand was over 45 times the supply of new shares.
- Cellnex expects to use the proceeds from the share capital increase to finance a portfolio of projects of up to c. €18 billion in the 18 months following completion of the offering. €9 billion are already committed to the announced acquisitions of Polkomtel Infrastruktura in Poland, Hivory in France and the integration of Deutsche Telekom’s towers and sites in the Netherlands.
- This was Cellnex’s fourth rights issue after the two carried out in 2019 –for €1.2 billion and €2.5 billion respectively– and one in 2020 for €4 billion. In the last 24 months, Cellnex has increased its capital by €14.7 billion to continue financing its growth.
- Following the rights issue, the reference shareholders of the Company currently comprise: GIC with 9.5% of the capital; Edizione with 8.5%; ADIA with 5%; Canada Pension Plan with 5%; Criteria Caixa with 4.8%; Wellington Management with 4.3%; Capital Group with 3.9%; BlackRock with 3.8%; Fidelity with 3.2% and Norges Bank with 3% according to the formal notifications that each of these entities has made up to date to Spain’s National Securities Market Commission (CNMV).
A period marked by the conclusion of operations and the announcement of new growth agreements
Since January Cellnex has announced growth operations in France, the Netherlands and Poland with an associated investment of c. €9 billion. It has also closed the integration of the assets of CK Hutchison in Sweden and Play in Poland.
Once all the ongoing acquisition and deployment agreements have been finalised, Cellnex will be operating c.129,000 telecommunications towers and sites in a total of 12 European countries.
- In January, Cellnex and Deutsche Telekom announced an agreement to merge their telecommunications tower activity in the Netherlands and create an investment fund in independently managed digital infrastructures. On completion of the transaction, Cellnex Netherlands will operate a total of 4.314 towers, including 180 new sites to be rolled out over the next seven years.
- Also, in January, Cellnex announced that it had completed the purchase of CK Hutchison’s assets in Sweden, and now owns a total of 9,700 towers and sites out of the total 24,600 that made up CK Hutchison’s portfolio in Europe. In December the Company had already closed the purchase of CK Hutchison’s assets in Austria (4,500 sites), Denmark (1,400) and Ireland (1,150). November 2020, Cellnex announced the agreement to acquire towers and sites from Hutchison in six European countries with an overall investment of €10 billion. With an additional investment of €1.4 billion, the agreement also provides for the deployment of new sites over the next eight years, and of which 400 are in Austria, 500 in Denmark, 100 in Ireland and 2,550 in Sweden.
- Early February, the Company announced an exclusivity agreement with Altice France and Starlight Holdco to acquire 100% of Hivory in France as the telecommunications tower operator that manages the 10,500 sites that mainly serve SFR. The agreement represents an investment of €5.2 billion by Cellnex, accompanied by an eight-year programme involving a further c.900 million for the roll-out of up to 2,500 new sites, among other projects.
- Also, in February, the Company unveiled an agreement with Cyfrowy Polsat to acquire 99% of its telecommunications infrastructure subsidiary Polkomtel Infrastruktura. Polkomtel operates all the passive infrastructures (c. 7,000 telecommunications towers and sites) and active infrastructures (c. 37,000 radio carriers covering all the bands used by 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G, and a backbone of 11,300 km of fibre (backbone) and fibre to the tower (backhaul) complemented by a national network of microwave radio links. The operation involves an investment of €1.6 billion accompanied by an additional programme to roll out up to c.1,500 sites and investments in active equipment, mainly for the roll-out of 5G, for another c. €600 million in the next 10 years.
- At the end of March, Cellnex closed the agreement with Iliad to purchase Play’s network of c.7000 sites in Poland, previously announced in October 2020. After receiving the green light from the competition authorities in Poland, the Company formalised the acquisition for c. €800 million of a 60% controlling stake in the Company that now manages these sites. This new Polish telecommunications infrastructure operator, owned by Cellnex, plans to invest up to €1.3 billion to roll out up to 5,000 new sites in Poland over the next ten years.
Regarding organic growth, the highlights of the period include the award to Cellnex UK by UK railway infrastructure owner and operator Network Rail, of the concession contract to provide mobile internet, broadband and fibre optic connectivity services along the entire London to Brighton route (Brighton Mainline); and also the award to Cellnex Netherlands by Dutch rail infrastructure operator ProRail of the concession contract for the management, operation, maintenance and expansion of telecommunications infrastructures to facilitate mobile connectivity along the over 7,000 km of rail networks that it manages in the Netherlands.
In both cases, Cellnex will act as a neutral operator, providing the necessary infrastructure to ensure mobile connectivity in stations and railway networks, offering specific coverage and capacity for each of the mobile operators in the respective countries.
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