Orange Belgium reached the high end of its 2016 financial target, established itself as a full convergent player and benefitted from a strong momentum in mobile data
Dividend reinitiated at 0.50 euro
Brussels, 9 February 2017– Today, the Orange Belgium Group (Euronext Brussels: OBEL) published its results for the fourth quarter and full year 2016. In 2016, the Orange Belgium Group was able to successfully establish its position as a customer oriented convergent operator in Belgium and Luxembourg. The rebranding and the launch of the convergent Orange Internet + TV offer have yielded sound results. The new mobile postpaid portfolio allows an ARPU accretive proposition that responds to the strong demand for mobile data services. Orange Belgium has succeeded in 2016 in generating more operational cash flow and has strengthened its financial position by focussing on its cost management and by the normalisation of the investments following the peak of the last years.
Orange Belgium Group has demonstrated its ability to be a full convergent player in the Belgium market. Orange Belgium ended the year with 33.4 thousand Orange Internet + TV customers and 56.7 thousand associated postpaid SIM cards. Close to 30 % of them were new Orange customers. In the fourth quarter of 2016, Orange Belgium accelerated the net adds of Orange Internet + TV customers to 15.8 thousand, more than the double of the previous quarter.
Orange Belgium Group continued to succeed in monetizing mobile data, leveraging its leading 4G network. The postpaid ARPU in Belgium increased to 29.0 euros versus 28.5 euros a year ago, despite EU roaming impact, supported by the new postpaid portfolio and the increase of 4G penetration. Orange Belgium surpassed 2 million active smartphone users and added 117 and 456 thousand 4G customers in the fourth quarter and full year 2016. In December 2016, total traffic has increased by more than 68 % year-on-year and 4G traffic represented more than 80 % of total traffic.
Orange Belgium Group realized a total turnover of 321.9 and 1,241.6 million euros in the fourth quarter and full year 2016. The total turnover benefitted from a strong performance of total service revenues, which grew by +2.1 % and +0.7 % year-on-year (+5.7 % and +3.4 % excl. EU roaming impact), driven by the solid growth in mobile service revenues, reaching its highest level since 2013, but also thanks to a return to fixed service revenues growth in the last quarter of 2016 driven by the Orange Internet + TV uptake.
The Orange Belgium Group expects its total service revenues to grow in 2017 and aims at an adjusted EBITDA between 290 and 310 million euros in 2017. This guidance compares to the 300.2 million euros realised in 2016 and shows a strong ambition especially taking into account the 31.9 million euros adverse impact of EU roaming regulation in 2017. The Orange Belgium Group expects total capex excl. investments linked to the successful uptake of the Orange Internet + TV offer to remain fairly stable compared to 2016.
Michaël Trabbia, Orange Belgium’s Chief Executive Officer, commented: “2016 was a transforming year for Orange Belgium, from mobile-only to fixed-mobile convergence. The successful launch of our Orange Internet + TV offer laid the foundation for becoming the convergent operator that brings the most value to the Belgian consumer. The rebranding from Mobistar to Orange - a leading and warm worldwide telecommunications brand - has started to illustrate its potential, with the UEFA Euro 2016 sponsoring by Orange, the Go Europe summer offer which allowed our postpaid customers to roam like at home in the EU, of which 7 Orange countries, and the Orange VR headset launch. In 2017, we will accelerate the acquisition of convergent customers, in line with our mid-term target of 10 % market share, by further leveraging our brand, our best -owned mobile and regulated access to fixed - networks nationwide, and our innovation. We will also continue accompanying our customers with their growing mobile data usage, thanks to our new portfolio and our targeted network investments. Finally, we will set a new customer experience ambition for the coming years, by simplifying and reviewing our operating model and launching a 360° digital transformation program. Together with the management team, we are strongly committed to execute this growth strategy and create value for our shareholders, our employees and our customers.”
Arnaud Castille, Chief Financial Officer added: “It is our ambition to reiterate the strong financial and operating performance of 2016 in 2017. The uptake of 4G smartphones and the growing customer demand for mobile data will provide support for our mobile ARPU development despite the impact of EU roaming regulation. As we drive the uptake of our Orange Internet + TV offering, we will develop our mobile customer base through retention, upselling and acquisition mechanisms. Our digital transformation is a priority, building up investments and a more cost efficient organisation that better serves customers. Finally, I am proud that the financial and commercial performance of the Orange Belgium Group in 2016 provides us with the means to strive additional shareholder value in 2017. This will allow our Board of Directors to propose a dividend of 0.50 euro per share for the financial year 2016.”