- 25 Feb 2022
Cellnex revenue grows 58% to €2.536 billion
The company closes 2021 with 63% growth in EBITDA and a 61% rise in recurring levered free cash flow (RLFCF)
In 2021, Cellnex closed growth transactions in France (Hivory), Austria, Denmark, Ireland, Italy and Sweden (CK Hutchison), Poland (Play and Polkomtel Infrastructura) and the Netherlands (TMobile NL sites) with an associated investment of €18.8 billion
Additionally during last months Cellnex has reached new growth agreements in France, Portugal, the UK and the Netherlands with an accumulated investment of €1.9 billion
- The main financial indicators continue to reflect the effect of geographic expansion –after the integrations in 2020 and 2021– and the strength of the Group’s organic business:
- Revenue stood at €2.536 billion (vs. €1.608 billion in 2020); adjusted EBITDA €1.921 billion (vs. €1.182 billion 2020); and recurring levered free cash flow €981 million (vs €610 million 2020).
- Points of presence (PoPs) increased approximately 70% (with 6.2% organic growth, including the effect of the roll–out of new sites in the period).
- Cellnex confirms its forecast for FY 2022 with revenue of between €3.46 and €3.51 billion, EBITDA somewhere between €2.65 and €2.7 billion and approximately 39% growth in recurring cash flow (€1.35–€1.38 billion).
- Net debt  at 31 December 2021 amounted to €11.919 billion.
- Currently 87% of the debt is referenced to a fixed rate.
- At the close of December 2021 Cellnex had available liquidity (treasury and undrawn debt) of c. €8.6 billion.
- The Company has reached the principal objectives it set in its ESG Master Plan 2021–2025 for the financial year, including those related to the environment, social responsibility and governance and has been recognised by the main sustainability indexes as one of the leading companies in its sector in the fight against climate change. In addition, Cellnex has structured and implemented its new sustainability-linked Financing framework.
- In 2021 the company also set up the Cellnex Foundation to boost connectivity as a universal right and reduce the digital, social and territorial divide, especially among the most vulnerable individuals and groups.
Barcelona, 25 February 2022. Cellnex Telecom has presented its results for the financial year 2021. Revenue amounted to €2.536 billion (+58%) and adjusted EBITDA grew to €1.921 billion (+63%) reflecting, together with organic growth, the effect of consolidating the assets the Company acquired in 2020 and 2021. Recurring levered free cash flow was €981 million (+61%).
The net result for the year was negative (- €351 million) due to the substantial impact of higher amortisations (+73% vs. 2020) and financial costs (+64% vs. 2020) associated with the intense acquisition activity and the consequent expansion of the Group’s geographic footprint, as well as two extraordinary and non-recurring impacts on the result for the year. These correspond to the voluntary early retirement plan for Cellnex Spain subsidiaries for the period 2022–2025 (€80 million) which was announced in December 2021, and the increase in corporate tax in the United Kingdom, which will rise from the current 19% to 25% in 2023 (impact of c. €100 million corresponding to the updating of deferred taxes).
Bertrand Kan, Chairman of Cellnex reflected on 2021 by saying “It has been an excellent year for Cellnex. We are very pleased with another year of strong growth in operations, cash flow and margins, in line with guidance. In terms of business composition, we have achieved strong progress, starting operations in one new country, Poland, and consolidating our position in France, the Netherlands, Portugal and Ireland. In addition, we have continued to expand the scope of our business, starting to provide fibre, active equipment and other services to our clients”.
“Generally, we continue to benefit from the secular trend of increasing connectivity between people, things, societies and economies and the technological evolution that facilitates it, in which our passive and active infrastructure services play a key role.”
Tobias Martinez, CEO of Cellnex, highlighted how “growth has been driven by both organic and inorganic factors. The consolidation of our operations in five of the six countries in which we acquired assets from CK Hutchison following the 2020 agreement and the acquisitions announced in the early months of 2021 has grown the Company’s geographic footprint, with double-digit increases –between 50% and 60%– in revenue, EBITDA and recurring cash flow. This growth will continue to have a significant knock-on effect in 2022, when several of these operations will have been part of the Group for a full year”.
“We have also seen a positive performance in terms of organic growth, which increased to around 6.2%, demonstrating the strength of our business and strategy”.
“As our Chairman has pointed out, in 2021 we demonstrated our ability to grow in like-for-like terms, with services ‘adjacent’ to towers that increase the ways we can support our customers. We continue to strengthen our long-term partnerships and relationships, which is evidenced by our new multi-decade agreement with BT in the United Kingdom to strengthen the current service provision agreement , which now can be extendedup to 2040. We also continue to bet on connectivity projects in public transport networks, private networks for industry or with DAS and Small Cell technologies in high–density environments. These business lines will continue to support our organic growth over the next few years.”
José Manuel Aisa, CFO and M&A Director of Cellnex, noted the Company’s ability to finance itself on the markets, underlining how “the Group’s growth strategy continues to find strong support in the debt and capital markets. 2021 once again showed Cellnex’s attractiveness, completing another €7 billion rights issue —the fourth in two years— and launching and covering five bond issues for a cumulative amount of more than €6 billion. We continue to find our investors to be very receptive to and benefit from good conditions in terms of cost of debt. I would also highlight that we have formalised the financial framework for the issuance of debt linked to ESG objectives, an essential step for the Group as we look to the next issuance of sustainable bonds.”
Business lines. Main indicators for the period
- Infrastructure services for mobile telecommunications operators contributed 87% to revenue (€2.215 billion), up 74% on 2020.
- The broadcasting infrastructure business contributed 9% of revenue (€219 million).
- The business focused on security and emergency service networks and solutions for smart urban infrastructure management (IoT and Smart cities) contributed 4% of revenue, totalling €103 million.
- At 31 December, the company’s main market is Spain with 21% of Group income, followed by Italy, with 20% and France with 16%.
- At 31 December, Cellnex had a total of 101,802 operational sites (without taking into account the sites to be rolled out and operations pending completion): 4,494 in Austria, 1,411 in Denmark, 10,368 in Spain, 22,797 in France ,1,834 in Ireland, 20,272 in Italy, 4,069 in the Netherlands, 14,651 in Poland, 5,875 in Portugal, 7,996 in the United Kingdom, 2,668 in Sweden and 5,367 in Switzerland; to which we should add 5,213 DAS and Small Cells nodes (around 50% more compared to 2020).
- Organic growth in points of presence at the sites stood at +6.2% in relation to 2020, including the effect of the roll–out of new sites during the period.
Financial structure and tax contribution
Cellnex has a debt structure that is flexible, owing to the various instruments used.
- The Group’s net debt as of 31 December -excluding lease liabilities- stood at €11.919 billion compared to €4.9 billion at the close of 2020.
- Currently 87% of the debt is referenced to a fixed rate.
- In 2021 the company performed five bond issues: one in February –in three tranches– for a total of €2.5 billion; one in March for 150 million Swiss francs; one in May for €1 billion; one in June –the first in the United States– for $600 million on a long-term basis (20 years); and one in September –in two tranches– for a total of €1.85 billion.
- Simliarly, in April Cellnex launched a €7 billion rights issue to bolster the Company’s available resources to finance the expansion of its telecommunications infrastructure portfolio in Europe.
- At the close of December 2021, Cellnex has access to immediate liquidity (cash and undrawn debt) of approximately €8.6 billion.
- Cellnex Telecom’s issues maintain Fitch’s investment grade rating (BBB-) with a stable outlook, confirmed in January 2022. For its part, S&P confirmed the BB+ rating with a stable outlook in June 2021.
- In FY 2021 Cellnex’s total tax contribution (own taxation + taxes paid by third parties) in FY 2021 —applying the OECD’s cash basis accounting methodology— stood at €510 Of these funds, a total of €292 million correspond to own taxes and essentially include taxes on profits, local taxes, fees and the social security business charge. The company has been adhering to the Code of Good Tax Practices since 2020.
- Cellnex does not rule out opening up the capital structure of certain subsidiaries to allow the entry of minority shareholders as a means of additional financing.
Concluding operations worth €18.8 billion and new growth agreements
In 2021 Cellnex concluded acquistions in France (Hivory), Austria, Denmark, Ireland, Italy and Sweden (CK Hutchison), Poland (Play and Polkomtel Infrastructure) and the Netherlands (DT sites) through which it has incorporated a total of 46,600 sites to its portfolio of infrastructures in Europe and Build to Suit (BTS) programmes covering more than 13,000 new sites in these countries up to 2030. The overall investment associated with these operations was over €18.8 billion.
New growth agreements for €1.9 billion
Beyond the closing of these transactions, in recent months the company has also announced new agreements in France with Bouygues Telecom –for the construction of up to 2,850 new additional sites by 2028, the acquisition of two additional Central Offices (datacenters) and the expansion of the joint fibre to the tower deployment project announced in 2020–, and with Iliad, –for the roll–out of up to 2,000 new additional sites by 2028–; in addition to the agreement with Société du Grand Paris to provide connectivity to the new lines 16 and 17 of the Parisian underground. Overall additional total investment in France is close to €1.5 billion.
Significant new investments in this period include the agreements reached in Portugal to expand cooperation with MEO –through the acquisition of nearly 700 additional sites– as well as the acquisition of 63 sites from ONI; the projects to provide connectivity to the London to Brighton rail line in the United Kingdom; and the ProRail rail network in the Netherlands. These total close to €400 million of additional spending.
Cellnex has also reached an agreement with BT to enhance their current MSSA (Master Site Service Agreement) due to end in 2030, with a multidecade partnership agreement, which includes the option to extend it until 2040 with an “all or nothing” clause.
Agreement to exercise purchase rights on minority stakes
Additionally, as was already planned, the Company has exercised the right to purchase the 30% that Iliad still held in the tower company (with an investment of €950 million) that was created to manage the sites acquired by Cellnex from Iliad in France in 2019. Both companies, Iliad and Cellnex, have also reached an agreement through which Cellnex increased its stake by 10% (to reach 70%, with an investment of €140 million) in the company that manages the Play sites in Poland, while Iliad will continue to hold 30%.
The cash outflow associated with the exercise of these purchase rights may be offset by the estimated proceeds – around €1.1 billion – from the divestment of 3,200 sites in France, required by the French competition authority, as well as from the potential divestment in the UK that may be proposed by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) as a result of the current phase two investigation of the acquisition of CK Hutchison’s UK assets.
Outlook for 2022
Cellnex confirms the forecasts for the various key indicators (Revenue, EBITDA and free and recurring cash flow) for financial year 2022:
- Estimated Revenue: between €3.46 and €3.51 billion
- Estimated EBITDA: between €2.65 and €2.7 billion
- Estimated RLFCF: between €1.35 and €1.38 billion
And it reiterates the growth outlook announced for the period 2021–2025 with 13% annualised growth in revenue (up to €4.1-€4.3 billion in 2025), +15% in EBITDA (up to €3.3-€3.5 billion in 2025) and +21% in free and recurring cash flow (up to €2-€2.2 billion in 2025).
About Cellnex Telecom
The efficient deployment of next–generation connectivity is essential to drive technological innovation and accelerate inclusive economic growth. Cellnex Telecom is the independent wireless telecommunications and broadcasting infrastructure operator that enables operators to access Europe’s most extensive network of advanced telecommunications infrastructure on a shared–use basis, helping to reduce access barriers for new operators and to improve services in the most remote areas.
Cellnex manages a portfolio of 136,000 sites – including forecast roll–outs up to 2030 – in Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Portugal, Austria, Denmark, Sweden and Poland. Cellnex’s business is structured in four major areas: telecommunication infrastructures services; audiovisual broadcasting networks; security and emergency service networks and solutions for smart urban infrastructure and services management (Smart cities and the Internet of Things (IoT)).
The company is listed on the continuous market of the Spanish stock exchange and is part of the selective IBEX 35 and EuroStoxx 100 indices. It is also present in the main sustainability indexes, such as CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project), Sustainalytics, FTSE4Good, MSCI and Standard Ethics. Cellnex’s reference shareholders include Edizione, GIC, TCI, Blackrock, Canada Pension Plan, CriteriaCaixa, Wellington Management Group, Capital Group, FMR and Norges Bank.
For more information: https://www.cellnextelecom.com