- 26 Feb 2020
Cellnex revenue exceeds € 1 billion
15% increase in revenue (€1.035 billion) and a 16% increase in EBITDA (€686 million)
The company has also announced a new agreement with Bouygues Telecom in France to deploy and operate a fibre optic network that will connect towers, sites and edge computing centres to boost the 5G ecosystem
- The main indicators reflect the expansion of the perimeter and the strength of the organic business:
- Revenue stood at € 1.035 billion (2018: €901 million); EBITDA at € 686 million (2018: €591 million) and recurring free cash flow at € 350 million (2018: €305 million).
- Points of presence (PoPs) grew 50% with new acquisitions, +5.5% like-for-like. The roll-out of new DAS (distributed antenna systems) nodes and Small Cells grew 25% compared to FY 2018. Notable among the most recent projects was the installation of a multi-operator DAS system in Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium.
- The backlog of contracted future sales, including the transactions pending conclusion and roll-out announced in the UK and France is equivalent to € 44 billion.
- Cellnex improves its outlook for the FY 2020 with EBITDA in the € 1.065 to 1.085 billion range and a recurring free cash flow growth of more than 50%.
- Net debt as of 31 December was € 3.938 billion. 68% is at a fixed rate, the average cost of debt (drawn down) is 1.7% and the average life is 5.7 years. In February 2020 Cellnex has available liquidity (treasury and debt not drawn down) of € 6.1 billion.
- After successfully closing two capital increases totalling € 3.7 billion, Cellnex has consolidated its position in key markets and has entered two new countries, Ireland and Portugal, with committed global investment in 2019 close to €8 billion euros in growth operations.
- The Board of Directors approves the dividend policy for the period 2020-2022, which is to remain at a 10% annual increase.
- CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project) has included Cellnex in its “A List” of 179 leading global companies in the fight against climate change.
Barcelona, 26 February 2020. Cellnex Telecom has announced its results for the close of financial year 2019. Revenue stood at € 1.035 billion (+15%) and EBITDA was € 686 million (+16%). The net result closed at -9 million (vs. -15 million in the same period of 2018), and continues to show the effect of higher amortisations (+24,3% vs. 2018) and financial costs (+32,2% vs. 2018) associated with the growth of the group and the resultant expansion of the geographical footprint. This scenario is consistent with the current strong growth that the group continues to achieve, and it is therefore expected that the group will continue to reflect a negative accounting result in the coming quarters.
Franco Bernabè, Cellnex’s Chairman, said: “certainly 2019 has been a transformational year that marked a quantum leap in terms of size as well as a qualitative leap in consolidating the group’s position in its key markets, while further expanding our geographical footprint in Europe with the incorporation of two new countries –Ireland and Portugal—into our operations.”
“Another prominent highlight –continued Mr- Bernabè— is the trust that Cellnex’s shareholders place in our project, evidenced by their high degree of participation in and support for the two capital increases carried out in March and October. Last but not least I would like to praise how the management team has pushed forward with an ambitious growth strategy without losing focus of the organic growth that underlies the project’s medium and long term sustainability.”
Tobias Martinez, CEO of Cellnex, described 2019 as an exceptional year: “Two capital increases totalling € 3.7 billion; investment commitments for more than € 8 billion for a company with revenues of € 1 billion; a 95% share price increase; we have achieved this without losing our focus or attention to the day-to-day management of the business. Taken separately, each of these factors is extraordinary within the activity of any company, combined, they can be considered exceptional and unique.”
Mr. Martinez also highlighted “how the company has beaten the objectives that we had set ourselves at the start of the year, as shown by all the key figures and indicators. The company continues to deliver strongly and with consolidated data that once again shows double-digit growth in revenue (+15%) and EBITDA (+16%).”
Finally, Cellnex’s CFO José Manuel Aisa, assessed the company’s ability to finance itself on the markets and stressed that “the prevailing situation of debt and capital markets helps companies like Cellnex, with its industrial and growth project, to enjoy excellent conditions in terms of lending costs or liquidity by investors that are also willing to support capital increases with a solid project behind them. A combination of instruments including debt and convertible bonds have afforded us access to considerable financing to deliver on the company’s exceptional growth, with the necessary resources available on favourable terms.”
Business lines. Main indicators for the period
Infrastructure services for mobile telecommunications operators contributed 67.5% of total income, to the value of €699 million, representing an increase of +19% compared to the close of 2018.
Activity in audiovisual broadcasting services and infrastructures contributed 22.7% of income, with € 235 million.
The business focused on security and emergency service networks and solutions for smart urban infrastructure management (IoT and Smart cities) contributed 9.8% of revenue, totalling € 101 million.
As of 31 December, 51% of income and 60% of EBITDA were generated outside the Spanish market. Italy is the second largest market, accounting for 26% of group revenue.
As of the close of 2019, Cellnex had a total of 36,471 operative sites (9,794 in Spain, 10,121 in Italy, 9,192 in France, 921 in the Netherlands, 608 in the United Kingdom, 565 in Ireland and 5,270 in Switzerland), with a further 1,995 nodes (DAS and Small Cells).
It should be noted that the number of DAS and Small Cells sites grew 25% in comparison to 2018. Outstanding among the most recent projects is the installation of a multi operator DAS system at Etihad Stadium, which is the Manchester City stadium in the UK.
Year-on-year organic growth – like-for-like – of points of presence at sites was +c.5.5%, while the customer ratio per site (excluding changes to the perimeter) was up by +3%.
Total investments executed in 2019 amounted to nearly € 4 billion, mostly for investments linked to generating new revenue streams, such as incorporating new assets in France, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, the UK and Ireland the roll-out of new sites, efficiency improvements and maintaining installed capacity.
2019: Two capital increases to reinforce the balance sheet and growth
Cellnex increased its own resources by € 3.7 billion in 2019 – to finance the company’s growth – through two capital increases, one of € 1.2 billion performed in March and one of € 2.5 billion closed in late October, for which demand for shares greatly exceeded supply (by over 16 and 38 times respectively) and supported by almost all the holders of preemptive rights.
Debt structure and tax contribution
Cellnex closed the financial year with a debt structure marked by the flexibility provided by the various instruments that were used: low cost and high average life. The average life of this debt is 5.7 years, the approximate average cost is 1.7% (debt drawn down), and 68% is at a fixed rate.
The Group’s net debt as of 31 December 2019 was € 3.938 billion compared to € 3.166 billion at the close of 2018.
Likewise, in February 2020, Cellnex had access to immediate liquidity (cash & banks and debt not drawn down) to the tune of € c.6.1 billion.
In January, the company performed two bond issues, one for € 450 million due in April 2027 and a coupon of 1.0%, and another for 185 million Swiss francs, due in February 2027 with a coupon of 0.775%.
Cellnex Telecom’s bond issues maintain their “investment grade” rating from Fitch (BBB- with a stable outlook), confirmed by this agency in November 2019. S&P maintains the BB+ rating with stable outlook confirmed by the agency in October 2019.
Cellnex’s total tax contribution (own taxes + tax collected from third parties) in FY 2019 – applying the OECD’s cash basis accounting methodology – stood at € 188.2 million. Of these funds, a total of € 81.7 million correspond to own taxes and essentially include taxes on profits, local taxes, fees and the social security business charge.
2019, a transformative year for Cellnex
Up to January 2020 Cellnex has struck several agreements to acquire assets and which, once signed and with all the associated programme for the construction of new sites rolled out, will mean an increase of some 28,000 assets in the current portfolio in the eight European countries in which the company is present.
In the first half of 2019, Cellnex signed long-term strategic collaboration agreements with Iliad – in France and Italy – and with Salt in Switzerland to acquire 10,700 sites (5,700 in France, 2,200 in Italy and 2,800 in Switzerland) and roll out a construction (BTS) programme of 4,000 new sites up to 2027 (2,500 in France and 1,000 in Italy for Iliad, and 500 for Salt in Switzerland). With a total planned investment of close to € 4 billion (€ 2.7 billion for the acquisition of sites and € 1.35 billion for BTS programmes).
In June, Cellnex and BT announced that they had signed a long-term strategic collaboration agreement through which Cellnex acquired the operation and marketing rights of 220 tall telecoms towers in the UK.
In September, Cellnex announced the acquisition of Cignal in Ireland, one of the main Irish telecommunications infrastructure operators, for a total of € 210 million. Cignal operates 546 sites in Ireland, the seventh European country in which Cellnex started operating. Furthermore, the company expects to roll out another 600 new sites up to 2026, with an additional investment estimated at € 60 million.
In October, the company announced the agreement to acquire the Telecommunications division of the English company Arqiva for around 2 billion pounds. The operation involves purchasing 7,400 owned sites and acquiring the marketing rights of some 900 sites in the United Kingdom. It also includes concessions for the use of urban fixtures for the deployment in 14 districts of London for telecommunications infrastructure, a key resource for the densification and roll-out of 5G. Finalisation of the operation – subject to the competition authorities obtaining the corresponding administrative authorisations, and other supensive conditions – is planned for the second half of 2020.
In December, Cellnex announced the acquisition of 1,500 sites from Orange Spain involving an investment of € 260 million. These are towers and antennas that Cellnex now operates and that Orange will continue to use for an initial period of ten years, extendible for a further ten years and successive periods of one year.
In January 2020, the company announced it had acquired Portuguese telecommunications towers and sites operator OMTEL for an EV of € 800 million. OMTEL operates 3,000 sites in Portugal, which became the eighth country in which Cellnex operates in Europe. The acquisition also includes the roll-out of 400 new sites over four years, which could be completed with up to a further 350 sites, with total planned investment for this site construction programme reaching € 140 million.
Since the IPO in 2015, Cellnex has executed or committed investments worth around € 13 billion for the acquisition or construction – by 2027 – of up to 51,000 telecommunications infrastructures in addition to the approximately 7,000 that the company had at that time, bringing the total number of sites to 58,000.
New growth deal in France to support and accelerate the rolling out of 5G
Coinciding with the presentation of results, Cellnex and Bouygues Telecom have announced a strategic agreement to deploy and operate a fibre optic network in France to support and accelerate the roll-out of 5G in France.
Planned investment up to 2027 stands at € 1 billion, which will be used to roll out a network of 31,500 km., which will interconnect the telecommunications towers providing service to 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 rolling out up to 90 new “metropolitan offices” up to 2027, to add up to the 150 centres planned and agreed with Bouygues Telecom in December 2018 (88) and February 2019 (62).
Bouygues Telecom will be the anchor tenant of the new network and has signed a 30+5-year contract that extends Cellnex’s backlog of contracted future sales by € 4 billion, up to € 44 billion.
Once the network and the “metropolitan offices” are fully deployed, the EBITDA generated by the joint venture created by both companies to roll out and manage this fibre network will stand at € 80 million.
The new agreement with Bouygues Telecom reinforces Cellnex’s position on the French market. Cellnex has been operating in France since 2016, when it acquired an initial package of 500 sites precisely from Bouygues Telecom. Once all the agreements with Bouygues Telecom and Free (Iliad) are closed and all the planned sites have been built (up to 2027) Cellnex will manage a portfolio of almost 14,000 sites in France, which will become the group’s main market by volume of assets managed and by turnover.
Since 2016, Cellnex has executed or committed more than € 4.3 billion in investment in growth operations in France, plus the € 1 billion that the new company will invest in rolling out the new fibre network and metropolitan offices.
Outlook for 2020
As a result of the assets and companies acquired, especially in 2019, and their progressive integration into the Group as a whole, Cellnex expects to increase its forecasts for the various key indicators by more than 50% (EBITDA and Recurring Leveraged Free Cash Flow (RLFCF)) for financial year 2020:
- Estimated EBITDA: € 1.065 to € 085 billion
- RLFCF growth of around 50%
The Board of Directors approves the dividend policy for the period 2020-2022, which is to remain at a 10% annual increase.
About Cellnex Telecom
Cellnex Telecom is Europe’s leading operator of wireless telecommunications and broadcasting infrastructures with a portfolio of c.58,000 sites including forecast roll-outs up to 2027. Cellnex operates in Spain, Italy, Netherlands, France, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Portugal.
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 600 indices. It is also part of the FTSE4GOOD and CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project) and “Standard Ethics” sustainability indexes.
Cellnex’s reference shareholders include ConnecT, with a 29.9% stake in the share capital, as well as CriteriaCaixa, Blackrock, Wellington Management Group and Canada Pension Plan, holding smaller stakes.