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Proximus steadies BICS decline, raises outlook

Both group revenue and profit stabilised at Proximus in the three months to 30 September as the Belgium-based operator took its declining international wholesale carrier arm BICS in hand.

The quarterly result prompted Proximus to revise its 2016 outlook upwards to growth of three-to-four percent.

Overall, revenue slipped marginally, by 1.4 percent, to €1.5 billion in the period, as its wholesale carrier arm BICS again undermined its solid showing at home.

Group EBITDA was €474 million, up 4.7 percent on a year ago.

However, the slide in sales from last quarter, when group revenue tumbled three percent as BICS shed 12.7 percent of revenue and 19.3 percent of EBITDA, was steadied, as the group focused on direct margin in trading, and continued its surge in domestic sales and connections.

BICS posted a direct margin of €73 million in the period.

Proximus called it “a stable performance against a high comparable base.”

At home, Proximus saw domestic revenue and EBITDA jump 1.5 percent and 5.5 percent, respectively, ending at €1.1 billion and €435 million.

The revenue increase was driven in the main part by a 10.8 percent uplift in TV revenues, a 4.1 percent surge in fixed data revenues, and higher mobile device sales following the company’s back-to-school campaign.

The company’s mobile base, across both its Proximus and Scarlet brands, swelled by 59,000 in the period; its quarterly additions were up by 11.9 percent.

It also added 18,000 TV subscriptions, and 14,000 fixed internet lines in the period, representing increases of 6.9 percent and 4.3 percent over a year ago.

Its shares of the TV and fixed internet markets were both up, ending at 35.8 percent and 46.4 percent.

Proximus said 53.9 percent of its consumer and business customers now take more than a single a service, up 1.5 percentage points.

At the end of the quarter, 46 percent were taking three or four services, with 11,000 additions in the period, up 5.5 percent.

The Group invested €183 million in network improvements in the third quarter, bringing its total for the year to €635 million.

Dominique Leroy, CEO at Proximus, said: “I’m pleased that our efforts to transform our company and reduce our costs are being translated into a strong domestic EBITDA growth, in spite of the reduced roaming rates.

“This makes us confident about raising our full-year 2016 outlook for the Group underlying EBITDA.”

Source: Euro Communications

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