MILLICOM’S FIRST QUARTER REVENUE ARE UP
Millicom International, Tuesday reported first-quarter revenue of $563 million from $303 million in 2006. Subscribers increased by 94%, bringing total subscribers to 16.5 million, excluding discontinued operations.
"In the first quarter Millicom continued to deliver the high levels of growth seen in 2006," said Marc Beuls, Chief Executive Officer. "The strong subscriber intake continued with approximately 1.6 million subscribers added in the first quarter taking total subscribers to 16.5 million. Capex for the first quarter was $183 million and is in line with our stated target of spending $800 million for the year."
EBITDA for first quarter increased to $248 million from $143 million while profit before taxes from continuing operations rose to $129 million from $77 million. Net Profit was $345 million compared with $33 million, including a $258 million gain on sale of Paktel Limited. Basic earnings per common share was $3.43 from $0.33.
"Central and South America continue to be the fastest growing regions being the first to launch "tigo" and being leaders in offering e-pin," Beuls said. Per second billing was launched in all three countries in Central America in late January, following the success of per second billing in Paraguay in 2006, and the first indications are encouraging, Millicom said. Central America saw revenues increase 59%, quarter-on-quarter, and EBITDA rise by 73%, with a 55% EBITDA margin.
"The year started well for us and with per second billing, e-pin and increasing capex fuelling growth in most of our markets, we expect 2007 to be another record year," Beuls said. In South America, excluding Colombia which was acquired in Q4 2006, underlying quarterly revenue growth was 70% and EBITDA growth was 98%, Millicom said.
Revenue growth in Paraguay was particularly strong at 83%, continuing the trend that started in early 2006 following the introduction of per second billing. Progress in Colombia has been encouraging with subscribers starting to rise and the EBITDA margin was higher than expected at 21%, up from 16% last quarter.
It is expected that revenues will start to rise in Colombia in Q3 when the distribution and the visibility of "tigo" will have improved, Millicom said.
"In Africa, with revenues and EBITDA up by 55% and 30%, respectively, we are already seeing the beneficial effect of the launch of "tigo" and we believe that in the future our African businesses can achieve similar if not higher levels of growth than those in Latin America," Beuls said.
In the fourth quarter of 2006, Millicom said it removed a number of low revenue subscribers from the network in Tanzania which affected net subscriber intake for the fourth quarter but in 2007 subscriber growth has accelerated again. Encouragingly the EBITDA margin in Africa as a whole improved slightly from 36% in Q4 2006 to 37% in Q1 2007, reversing the recent quarterly downwards trend, Millicom said.
In Asia, Millicom introduced per-second billing in Cambodia in mid-January 2007. Revenues were surprisingly strong given the effective tariff reduction from the change to per-second billing, and were up 15% versus the fourth quarter of 2006. Sri Lanka is starting to show positive results following the launch of "tigo" in January. Revenue was up 42% versus the first quarter of 2006 reflecting the investments that have been made on the network in 2006 and early 2007, Millicom said.
Overall, Asia reported a 22% growth in revenues, an 11% growth in EBIDTA and a margin of 41%. During the first quarter Millicom completed the sale of Paktel for an enterprise value of $460 million and recorded a net gain on the sale of the business of $258 million.
Dow Jones Newswires