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  • 26 Feb 2021
  • ·
  • Finance

Cellnex’s revenues grow 55% to €1.6 billion

Results 2020

The company enters five new countries Austria, Denmark, Poland, Portugal and Sweden and consolidates in key markets such as France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands and the UK. 

Cellnex today announced a new agreement in Poland to acquire Polkomtel Infrastruktura, which operates both passive –telecom towers– and active infrastructure –voice and data transmission equipment and fibre to the tower–. The transaction involves an investment of c. €1.6 billion.

 Since its IPO in 2015, Cellnex has invested c. €37 billion in growth and continually looks for new opportunities.

  • The main points below notably reflect the strength and geographic expansion of the Group’s business:
    • Revenue stands at €1.608 billion (+55%); EBITDA at €1.182 billion (+72%); and recurring free cash flow at €610 million (+75%).
    • Points of presence (PoPs) grew c. 60% with the new acquisitions (c. +5.5% like-for-like). The customer ratio per site on a like-for-like basis stands at 46.
    • The deployment of new DAS (distributed antenna system) nodes grew c. 25% from 2019.
    • The backlog of future sales contracted, including transactions pending closure and roll-out announced in Italy and the UK (CK Hutchison), France (Hivory), the Netherlands (DT), and Poland (Play and Polkomtel Infrastruktura) is €110 billion.
    • Cellnex improves its outlook for FY 2021 with revenue of between €2.405 and €2.445 billion, EBITDA of between €1.815 and €1.855 billion and a 50% growth in recurrent cash flow (€905-€925 million).
  • Net debt as of 31 December 2020 amounted to €6.5 billion (including lease liabilities). 81% at a fixed rate, with an average cost of debt (drawn) of6% and an average life of 5.8 years.
  • In February 2021, Cellnex enjoys available liquidity (treasury and undrawn debt) of €17.4 billion.
  • Following approval by the Shareholders’ Meeting convened for 29 March, the company plans to carry out an insured capital increase of up to €7 billion to finance the recent acquisition of Hivory in France, the agreement with DT in the Netherlands and the acquisition of Polkomtel Infrastruktura in Poland, as well as new growth projects within the next 18 months.
  • In the face of COVID-19, the company has established active relationships with NGOs and several hospitals, providing funds to the value of €10 million to organisations across its geographies. Of particular importance is its €5 million funding for a research project in cellular immunotherapy performed by a European consortium of hospitals, led by the Clinic of Barcelona.
  • After finalising its CSR 2016-2020 Master Plan with 90% of the strategic objectives covered, the company launched its 2021-2025 Sustainability Master Plan focusing on ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) 40% of the Group’s energy consumption will be green by 2021 and 100% by 2025. The Company has also set up The Cellnex Foundation to foster connectivity and reduce the digital divide between the most vulnerable people and groups.

Barcelona, 26 February 2021. Cellnex Telecom has presented its results for the close of the financial year 2020. Revenue stood at €1.608 billion (+55%) and EBITDA €1.182 billion (+72%). The net accounting result was negative (€-133 million) due to the effect of higher amortisations –practically double those of 2019– (+94% vs 2019) and financial costs (+83% vs 2019) associated with the intense process of acquisitions and the consequent geographic expansion.

Bertrand Kan, Chairman of Cellnex, highlighted that “while COVID-19 has affected everyone in 2020, with  devastating consequences for many in terms of loss of life, jobs and global economies the telecommunications sector has supported and enabled social distancing and working from home, thereby mitigating the effects of the crisis. Network and infrastructure operators like Cellnex have successfully responded to the exponential increase in data traffic, thanks mainly to the significant investments made in recent years by the sector in network roll-outs. Cellnex has been able to contribute to, and is also benefiting from, the digital transformation that has been accelerated by the crisis. We are pleased to have been able to help provide vital connectivity to businesses and people in Europe in a historic period of isolation.”

Tobias Martinez, CEO of Cellnex, echoed Chairman Bertrand Kan and described 2020 as “An exceptional year in Cellnex’s history in an equally exceptional time in our history. New growth operations in Austria, Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Sweden and the United Kingdom have consolidated and expanded Cellnex’s European footprint. We announced investment commitments of €16 billion in 2020, and now a further €9 billion has been announced in the first few weeks of 2021. All this brings us to the €37 billion in growth projects that Cellnex has committed to since the IPO in 2015. Once again, the trust our shareholders have shown in Cellnex was expressed in the very high support for the €4 billion capital increase that we performed in August 2020. I would also like to highlight our team’s focus on leading and executing the integration processes in the new territories. This successful integration will allow inorganic growth to go hand in hand with organic growth, forming the basis for Cellnex’s sustainability in the medium and long term.”

Tobias Martinez highlighted future areas of focus for the Group, “ Every business should be centred on sustainability and how to bring real value to society. We closed the CSR Master Plan 2016-2020 by complying with over 90% of the objectives that we set. The group’s new ESG Master Plan 2021-2025 has concrete commitments, including that 40% of the Group’s energy consumption will be green by 2021 and 100% by 2025, and our suppliers will be expected to meet clear ESG criteria. Additionally, we will focus on attracting and promoting female talent and will develop digital inclusion projects that facilitate integration and access to connectivity for the most vulnerable groups and the most isolated territories.”

Finally, José Manuel Aisa, Finance and M&A Director of Cellnex, assessed the company’s ability to finance itself on the markets, underlining that, “The current investment environment of the debt and capital markets helps companies like Cellnex, which have a clear approach to growth, to find perfect conditions in terms of cost of debt or liquidity from investors willing to support capital increases backed up by a solid strategy. This combination of instruments includes debt and convertible bonds, which have given us access to very significant financing to execute the exceptional growth of the company in the right conditions and with the necessary resources.”

Business lines. Areas of note for the period:

  • Infrastructure services for mobile telecommunications operators provided 79% of total income, to the value of €1.276 billion, representing an increase of 83% to June 2019.
  • Activity in broadcasting infrastructures contributed 14% of revenue – €227 million.
  • The business focused on security and emergency service networks and solutions for smart urban infrastructure management (IoT and Smart cities) which contributed 7% of revenue, totalling €105 million.
  • As of 31 December, 67% of revenues and 75% of EBITDA was generated outside of the Spanish market. Italy is the second-largest market, accounting for 21% of the group’s revenues.
  • As of 31 December, Cellnex had a total of 58,014 operating sites; 4,470 in Austria; 1,317 in Denmark; 10,312 in France; 1,781 in Ireland; 10,610 in Italy; 924 in the Netherlands; 5,052 in Portugal; 10,327 in Spain; 5,315 in Switzerland and 7,996 in the UK. Also, 3,004 DAS and Small Cells nodes (up c. 25%, on a like-for-like basis, year-on-year).
  • Like-for-like organic growth in points of presence sites was c. 5% in 2019, while the customer ratio per site on a like-for-like basis (excluding planned BTS programmes) stands at 1.46.
  • Total investments executed in 2020 amounted to €6.4 billion, mostly for investments linked to the generation of new revenue streams, particularly the incorporation of new assets in Austria, Denmark, Ireland, Portugal and the UK and the continued integration and roll-out of new sites in France, as well as efficiency improvements, 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.

 

Financial structure and tax contribution

  • Cellnex closed 2020 with a debt structure marked by the flexibility, low cost and high average life provided by the various instruments that used. As of 31 December 2020, the average life was 8 years, the approximate average cost was 1.6% (drawn debt), and 81% at fixed rate.
  • The Group’s net debt as of 31 December 2020 stood at €6.5 billion (including lease liabilities) compared to €3.926 billion at the close of 2019.
  • In February 2021, Cellnex had access to immediate liquidity (cash and undrawn debt) to the value of approximately €17.4 billion.
  • Throughout this period, the company has performed several bond issues, two in June for the amounts of €915 million and 100 million Swiss francs respectively, one in October for €1 billion and one in February of 2021 —in three tranches— for a total amount of €2.5 billion. In November 2020, the company concluded the placement of €1.5 billion in convertible bonds maturing in 2031 and activated a financing line of up to €10 billion, led by JP Morgan and syndicated with a number of national and international financial institutions.
  • In August 2020, Cellnex successfully completed the capital increase to the value of €4 billion, to which nearly all Cellnex holders of preferential rights subscribed. Investor demand was over 46 times the supply of new shares.
  • Cellnex Telecom’s bond issues maintain their “investment grade” rating from Fitch (BBB- with a stable outlook), confirmed in April this year. For its part, S&P maintains the BB+ rating with stable outlook confirmed by the agency last November.
  • Cellnex’s total tax contribution (own taxation plus taxes paid by third parties) in FY 2020 —applying the OECD’s cash basis accounting methodology— stood at €245 million. Of these funds, a total of €96 million corresponds to own taxes and essentially include taxes on profits, local taxes, fees and the social security business charge. In December, the Company adhered to the Code of Best Tax Practices with effect from 2020.

 

January 2020 – February 2021: Entry into five new countries and consolidation in key markets

Since January 2020, Cellnex has reached various growth agreements that have allowed it to enter Austria, Denmark, Portugal, and Sweden and will lead it to enter Poland, where it will reinforce its position after announcing today its second growth deal in the Polish market. During this period, the Company has also strengthened its presence in key markets such as France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, and the UK.

Once all the ongoing acquisition and deployment agreements have been finalised, Cellnex will be operating 128,000 telecommunications towers and sites in a total of 12 European countries.

 

2020

  • January – The Company announced that it had closed the Portuguese telecommunications towers’ purchase and sites operator OMTEL for €800 million. OMTEL operates 3,000 sites in Portugal. The acquisition also envisages the roll-out of 400 new sites over four years, which could be completed with up to a further 350 sites, involving a total planned investment of €140 million.
  • February – Cellnex and French operator Bouygues Telecom announced a strategic agreement to roll out and operate a fibre optic network to support and speed up the roll-out of 5G. The planned investment, up to 2027, is €1 billion, which will be used to roll out a 31,500 km network that will interconnect the sites that serve Bouygues Telecom – 5,000 of which belong to Cellnex – with the network of “Central” and “Metropolitan offices” for housing data processing centres (Edge Computing). The agreement also envisages the deployment of up to 90 new “metropolitan offices”, up to 2027, in addition to the 150 centres agreed with Bouygues Telecom (88 in December 2018 and 62 in February 2019).
  • April – Cellnex reached an agreement with Portuguese mobile operator NOS to acquire 100% of NOS Towering. The transaction, closed in September, involves c. 2,000 sites and an initial investment of €375 million, with an additional investment commitment of up to €175 million to expand services (by up to 400 sites, including a new tower building programme) and other agreed initiatives to be performed during the next six years.
  • July – In the United Kingdom, the Company closed the acquisition of Arqiva’s telecommunications. The project announced in October 2019, involved integrating of c. 7,400 sites and the marketing rights of c. 900 sites across the UK, involving an investment of £2 billion.
  • Also, in July, Cellnex acquired 100% of the shares of Finnish start-up Edzcom, which specialised in Edge connectivity solutions. The company was especially focused on the development and implementation of private LTE networks, which are key to rolling out 5G, also in Business Critical processes in industrial complexes and environments such as ports, airports or robotised production plants, among others.
  • October – In Spain, Cellnex closed with Indra, the purchase of 60% Metrocall, the neutral operator that manages and operates the telecommunications infrastructure and services in the Madrid underground system.
  • Also in October, in Poland the company announced, that it had reached an agreement with Iliad to acquire the 7,000-site network of the Polish mobile operator Play. Cellnex will invest €800 million in acquiring a 60% controlling stake in the company that will manage the sites, with plans to invest up to an additional 1.3 billion rolling out up to a further 5,000 new sites over the next ten years.
  • November – The Company announced an agreement with CK Hutchison – the largest ever performed by Cellnex since its IPO in May 2015 – to acquire c. 24,600 sites and roll out up to 6,250 additional sites in the next ten years in six European countries. As a result of these agreements, Cellnex has entered three new markets: Austria (4,500 existing sites + 400 to be rolled out), Denmark (1,400 + 500 to be rolled out), and Sweden (2,650 + 2,550 to be rolled out), as well as consolidating its foothold in markets where it already operates such as Ireland (1,150 + 100 to be rolled out), and the forecast to do so in Italy (8,900 existing sites + 2,100 to be rolled out), and the UK (6,000 + 600 to be rolled out), in which the volume of assets managed will double.

The transaction agreed with CK Hutchison is worth €10 billion: 8.6 billion in cash plus a 5% stake in Cellnex that would become effective coinciding with the closing of the acquisition in the United Kingdom. The additional investment associated with the roll-out of the new sites amounts to €1.4 billion.

2021

  • Already in January of this year, Cellnex and Deutsche Telekom have 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 7 years.
  • In early February, the Company announced an exclusivity agreement with Altice France and Starlight Holdco for the acquisition of 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, to be accompanied by an eight-year programme involving a further c. €0.9 billion for the roll-out of up to 2,500 new sites, among other projects.
  • Earlier today, coinciding with the presentation of its 2020 results, Cellnex announced the agreement with Cyfrowy Polsat to acquire 99.99% of its telecommunications infrastructure subsidiary, Polkomtel Infrastruktura, which operates the group’s passive infrastructure (c. 7,000 telecommunication towers and sites) and active infrastructures (c.37,000 radio carriers covering all the bands used by 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G; c. 11,300 km of fibre backbone and fibre-to-the-tower backhaul, and a national network of microwave radiolinks). The agreement involves an investment of €1.6 billion by Cellnex, plus an additional programme to roll out up to c. 1,500 sites, as well as investments in active equipment, mostly for 5G, for a further c. €600 million over the next ten years.

 

Outlook for 2021

As a result of the acquisitions of assets and companies carried out by the Company and their progressive integration into the Group as a whole, Cellnex expects to increase by 50% the forecasts for the various key indicators (Revenues, EBITDA and free and recurring cash flow) for 2021:

  • Estimated income: between €2,405 and 2,445 million
  • Estimated EBITDA: between €1,815 and 1,855 million
  • Growth of RLFCF of around 50% up to €905-€925 million

About Cellnex Telecom

Cellnex Telecom is Europe’s leading operator of wireless telecommunications infrastructures with a portfolio of more than 128,000 sites, 75,000 of which are already in the portfolio, and the rest in the process of finalisation or planned roll-outs up to 2028. Cellnex operates in Spain, Italy, Netherlands, France, Switzerland, the UK, Ireland, Portugal, Austria, Denmark, Sweden and shortly in Poland. Cellnex’s business is structured in four major areas: telecommunications infrastructure 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 600 indices. It is also part of the FTSE4GOOD and CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project) and “Standard Ethics” sustainability indexes. Cellnex’s reference shareholders include Edizione, GIC, ADIA, Canada Pension Plan, CriteriaCaixa, Blackrock & Wellington Management Group.

For more information: https://www.cellnextelecom.com

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