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Mobistar: Weak 1Q12 release

Mobistar: Weak 1Q12 release

26.4.2012 10:30

Mobistar published a weak 1Q report, with service revenues, profits, and subscriber numbers coming in below expectations. The company reiterates its FY outlook but we expect our and consensus forecasts to come down following this release. Hold maintained.

1Q12 service revenues are down 3%, in line with our forecast but 2% short of CSS expectations, mainly due to a weak performance in Belgian mobile revenues (-3% y/y, 1.6% below CSS, again in lne with our estimate). Luxemburg (10.6% growth) performs in linewith expectations. Helped by strong handset sales (€ 41m vs € 33m expected), total sales are stable y/y and are in line with expectations.
EBITDA is down 10% to € 113.1m (31.6% margin versus 33.9% a year ago), 4% below CSS and KBCS (both € 118.1m). Net income finally falls 28% to € 38.2m, well below the € 47m we and CSS expected. Next to the lower EBITDA, also the accelerated depreciations on the network renewal weighed on net profit, Mobistar states.
FCF (€ 29m) falls short of expectations (€ 58m) but this seems mainly due to higher tax payments.

Subscribers numbers disappoint, with only 1.5k mobile adds (ex MVNO, ex Lux) vs 13.6k expected. Mobistar refers to fierce competition in the prepaid segment, and it admits it has lost market share in this segment due to the success of Belgacom, Base and Mobile Vikings. TV adds are only 50 (fifty) during the quarter, vs 6.4k expected. Mobistar said at the FY11 release that it was targeting again around 25k TV adds this year (i.e. same number as in 2011), but thisnow seems very challenging. The company provides no specific explanation for the weak TV adds, but states that during 1Q all focus was placed on the further improvement in the activation processes (the cumbersome activation process is one of the reasons Mobistar always mentions when discussing the limited TV adds). There was as good as no sales push for the TV offer. Mobistar lost 17k MVNO subs (vs 22k adds expected), but this is due to an adjustment of the number of Telenet MVNO subs (Telenet clients thatwere already seen as inactive by Telenet, but still active by Mobistar -so this says nothing about TNET mobile adds). Luxemburg subs were down (vs growth expected) as Mobistar lost in prepaid here as well, while also some B2B deals were lost.

Mobistar maintains its outlook, including up to 2% sales decline, € 460m to € 500m EBITDA and € 170m to € 195m in net profit. 3034384246505458AMJASONDJFM75818894100107113119126PriceRel. to index (RHS)

Our View & Conclusion: 1Q’s weaker than expected across the board, again confirming that Mobistar is suffering in a converging world. TV adds were almost non-existent during the Q.
The company maintains its FY guidance but our and CSS estimates (with profit forecasts at the high end of the guidance range) might be lowered a bit after the weaker profits this quarter. Mobistar also confirms that the final EC roaming proposal is somewhat more aggressive than it originally expected, and the total regulatory impact will now amount to € 58m on revenues and € 32m on EBITDA vs € 51m and € 22m originally indicated).

Hold maintained, the share price has fallen below our target and Mobistar might now be slightly cheaper than the sector, but given the weak operational evolutions this is not surprising. CC at 10am CET.

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