Ice Group ASA: second quarter and half-year results 2019
21 August 2019
Oslo, 21 August 2019 – Ice Group ASA’s (Ice Group) smartphone service revenue was NOK 319 million in this year’s second quarter, an increase of 16 percent versus the corresponding quarter last year. The company’s smartphone subscription base grew by 79 thousand and its frequency portfolio was considerably strengthened during the second quarter.
“This was a highly eventful and positive quarter and we are undoubtedly an even more robust business now than at the beginning of the period. Strong growth in revenues and smartphone customer base coupled with a much stronger frequency portfolio, acquired at attractive price levels, provide us with great encouragement for the future,” says Eivind Helgaker, CEO of Ice Group.
Smartphone subscriptions grew by 79 thousand in the quarter, of which 21 thousand were organic growth and 58 thousand customers were from the Komplett Mobil acquisition. Per 30 June 2019, Ice Group had 536 thousand smartphone subscriptions, up 27 percent versus the same time last year.
Ice Group acquired new frequencies in the 450, 700 and 2,100 MHz bands in the quarter, all close to minimum reserve price in the auction. The company’s average on-net data share was 72 percent (Q2 2018: 55%) and the VoLTE share 19 percent (0%), reflecting the higher number of own base stations. A further 114 new base stations were added in the second quarter. Ice Group’s NRA cost was subsequently lowered to 34 percent of smartphone service revenues (41%), despite significant customer and data consumption growth.
“The trend in NRA costs validates our business case. Additionally, our success in the 700 MHz frequency auction will enable us to reach 95 percent population coverage with fewer base stations than originally planned. This makes our business plan even more robust,” adds Helgaker.
Total operating revenue in the second quarter of 2019 was NOK 421 million, up from NOK 404 million in the corresponding quarter last year. Smartphone service revenues in the quarter increased by 16 percent to NOK 319 million (274). EBITDA ended at NOK -46 million (-35), equivalent to a margin of -11 percent (-9%). The net result for the period was NOK -297 million (-196).
Smartphone ARPU ended at NOK 220, down from NOK 228 in the corresponding quarter last year. As expected, migration of Komplett Mobil’s customers had a dilutive effect on ARPU this quarter because customers benefited from one month’s free subscription and the migration took place towards the end of the quarter. The launch of the “ice junior” product also impacted ARPU negatively in the quarter. “Ice junior” is a free-of-charge subscription for children under the age of 13. It includes free calls to three telephone numbers, free SMS/MMS and one gigabyte of data per month, plus options to acquire add-on services at additional cost.
“Ice junior has proved very popular amongst both existing and new customers. Although it is not a positive ARPU contributor immediately, we already see that this product strengthens our position in the highly attractive family segment. We are confident that this product will be a growth contributor in the medium and long term,” says Helgaker.
Ice Group ASA’s shares were listed on Oslo Axess on 20 May 2019.
Half-year results 2019
Total operating revenue ended at NOK 879 million for the first half of 2019, up from NOK 786 million in the same period last year. Smartphone service revenue for the first half 2019 amounted to NOK 607 million (531), representing a year-on-year growth of 14 percent versus the first half of 2018. The EBITDA result for the first half of 2019 improved to NOK -111 million (-123), representing a 4 percentage point margin improvement from -17% to -13% of revenues. It should be noted however that the majority of this half-year period turnover (March, April, May and June) has no revenue from the divested Swedish operation. The NRA cost for the first half of the year was lowered to NOK 206 million compared with NOK 230 million last year. The operating result for the first half 2019 ended at NOK -330 million compared with NOK -350 million for the first half 2018.
A presentation of the second quarter and half-year results will be held today at 08:00 (CET) at Hotel Continental, Stortingsgaten 24/26, Oslo, Norway. The presentation can also be followed through a live webcast from this link: https://webtv.hegnar.no/presentation.php?webcastId=98044130
For further information, please contact:
Investors: Henning Karlsrud, CFO of Ice Group, tel: +47 930 45 389
Media: Endre Aaberg Johansen, Corporate Communications AS, tel: +47 416 10 605,
About Ice Group ASA
Ice Group is a telecommunications company with nationwide networks in Norway and Denmark. In Norway, the company operates a pure 4G mobile network, providing smartphone, m2m, IoT and mobile broadband services to B2C and B2B customers. Ice Group also offers mobile broadband, m2m and IoT services in Denmark through its own network. For more information, see www.icegroup.com.