Up to October, Cellnex has completed or announced acquisitions in Portugal, France, the UK and Poland for a total investment of €6.9 billion
Following its €4 billion rights issue in August 2020, Cellnex continues to analyse a range of projects involving investments of up to €11 billion
Barcelona, 4 November 2020. Cellnex Telecom has presented its results for the January-September period of 2020. Revenue amounted to €1.149 million (+53%) and EBITDA grew to 838 million (+68%) after consolidating the asset acquisitions made in 2019 and in the first months of 2020.
The net result for the period was negative (-€84 million) due to higher amortisation (+100% vs. 3Q 2019) and financial costs (+37% vs. 3Q 2019) associated with acquisitions undertaken in 2019 and 2020 and the significant expansion of the Group’s geographic footprint. This is in-line with the strong growth that the Company continues to experience, and for this reason – as announced in the presentation of the FY 2019 results – it is expected that the Group will continue to record negative net results in the coming quarters.
Cellnex President Franco Bernabè underscored “the ability of the Cellnex management team to continue to deliver against targets, including the continued availability of all services provided by the Company to its customers – reflected in the Group’s organic business indicators – in a context marked by social and economic disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The team has done so while maintaining a growth policy that allows us to reinforce and expand the Group’s geographic footprint through a range of transformational acquisitions, while also enjoying the support of our shareholders who have once again demonstrated their trust in our project by responding in very large numbers to the €4 billion capital increase last August.”
Cellnex CEO Tobias Martinez reiterated how “the Group and its employees continue to operate under the principle of maximum responsibility in relation to our customers, whose services have remained unaffected; to suppliers, with whom we have agreed mechanisms to speed up receipt of payments; to the employees themselves, who continue to perform their activities at the highest level during these exceptional circumstances, guaranteeing the continuity of operations, as well as undertaking new growth operations such as those delivered over the last few months in Portugal, France, in the UK where we finalised the purchase of Arqiva’s telecommunications division, and the recent announcement of the agreement with Iliad in Poland that gives us access to one of the most attractive and dynamic markets in Eastern Europe.”
“We are on the right track as we approach the close of 2020, a year marked by the COVID-19 pandemic to which the Group has responded with a desire to serve our customers while maintaining our ambition and tenacity to provide ourselves with the necessary resources that allow us to continue pushing forward the Group’s growth project while striving to analyse and perform new operations.”
Business lines. Main indicators for the period
Infrastructure services for mobile telecommunications operators contributed 78% of total income, to the tune of €898 million, representing an increase of 77% with regard to September 2019.
Activity in broadcasting infrastructures contributed 15% of revenue, at €172 million.
The business focused on security and emergency service networks and solutions for smart urban infrastructure management (IoT and Smart cities) contributed 7% of revenue, totalling €78 million.
As of 30 September, 65% of income and 73% of EBITDA are generated outside the Spanish market. Italy is the second largest market, accounting for 22% of the group’s revenue.
As of 30 September 2020, Cellnex had a total 50,185 operative sites (10,313 in Spain, 10,356 in Italy, 9,687 in France, 924 in the Netherlands, 7,996 in the UK, 5,277 in Switzerland, 621 in Ireland and 5,011 in Portugal), plus the 2,707 nodes (DAS and Small Cells).
It is worth noting that the number of DAS and Small Cells sites grew organically by approximately 20% in comparison to the same period in 2019.
Like-for-like organic growth of points of presence in sites was up c.5% year on year, while the customer ratio per site (excluding changes to the perimeter) was up by c.3%.
Total investments executed in the first nine months of 2020 amounted to €3,585 million, mostly for investments linked to generating new revenue streams, particularly the incorporation of new assets in Portugal and the UK and the continuity in the integration and roll-out of new sites in France, as well as improvements in efficiency, and the maintenance of installed capacity.
Following the announcement of the agreement with Iliad for the acquisition of Play’s network of locations in Poland, the backlog of future sales contracted by the group stands at €53 billion.
Cellnex closed the first nine months of 2020 with a debt structure marked by the flexibility, low cost and high average life provided by the various instruments that were used. As of 30 September the average life was 5.5 years, the approximate average cost was 1.7% (drawn debt), and 74% at fixed rate.
As of 30 September, the Group’s net debt stood at €3.776 billion compared to €3.938 billion at the close of 2019.
At the close of the period, Cellnex had access to immediate liquidity (cash + undrawn debt) to the tune of approximately €7.2 billion.
On August Cellnex successfully completed the capital increase to the tune of €4 billion, to which nearly all Cellnex holders of preferential rights subscribed. Investor demand was 46 times the supply of new shares.
In October the company made a 10-year bond issue for an overall amount of €1 billion with a coupon of 1.75%.
Cellnex Telecom’s bond issues maintain their “investment grade” rating from Fitch (BBB- with a stable outlook), confirmed by this agency in April this year. For its part, S&P maintains the BB+ rating with stable outlook confirmed by the agency in September.
A 2020 marked by entry into new markets and consolidation in key markets
Until October 2020, Cellnex has reached various growth agreements that allowed it to enter and consolidate its foothold in Portugal and that will take it into Poland —the eighth and ninth European countries respectively in which the company currently operates—; and strengthened its presence in France by rolling out a fibre optic network with Bouygues Telecom, which will connect towers, sites and edge computing centres that are key to developing the 5G ecosystem; and in the UK with the finalisation of the purchase of Arqiva’s telecommunications division.
In Portugal the Company announced in January that it had finalised the purchase of the Portuguese telecommunications towers 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 for this site construction programme of €140 million. Omtel has been operating under the Cellnex brand in Portugal since 1 July.
In France, Cellnex and Bouygues Telecom announced a strategic agreement in February 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 telecommunications towers 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”, also up to 2027, in addition to the 150 centres agreed with Bouygues Telecom (88 in December 2018 and 62 in February 2019).
In April, Cellnex reached an agreement with the Portuguese mobile operator NOS to acquire 100% of NOS Towering. The transaction, which was closed this September, involves about 2,000 telecommunications sites and an initial investment of approximately €375 million, with an additional investment commitment of up to €175 million to expand the perimeter (by up to 400 sites, including a new tower building programme) and other agreed initiatives to be performed during the next six years.
In the United Kingdom, the company finalised its acquisition of Arqiva’s telecommunications division in July. The project, which was announced in October 2019, involves integrating c. 7,400 sites and the marketing rights of c. 900 sites spread across the UK, involving an investment of £2 billion.
Also in July, Cellnex acquired 100% of the shares of Finnish start-up Edzcom, specialised in Edge connectivity solutions, especially focused on the development and implementation of private LTE networks, which are key to rolling out 5G, in Business Critical processes in industrial complexes and environments such as ports, airports or robotised production plants, among others.
In Spain, this October, Cellnex finalised the purchase of 60% Metrocall from Indra, the neutral operator that manages and operates the telecommunications infrastructure and services in the Madrid underground system.
Also in October, 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, which plans to invest up to an additional 1.3 billion rolling out up to 5,000 new sites over the next ten years.