Ice Group ASA - third quarter 2019 results
Oslo, 14 November 2019: Ice Group’s smartphone service revenues grew by 26 percent and smartphone subscriptions grew by 27 percent in the third quarter versus the same quarter last year. On-net traffic shares also continue to grow for Ice Group, which is building a third nationwide mobile network in Norway.
“Our smartphone customer base has grown by 119 thousand subscriptions in the past twelve months. Even in this year’s third quarter, which we knew could be challenging, we increased our customer base with 19 thousand subscriptions, demonstrating our strong competitiveness,” says Eivind Helgaker, CEO of Ice Group.
The smartphone subscription growth in the third quarter was achieved despite an expected increase in churn from Komplett Mobil customers who terminated their agreement following one month’s free subscription after migration. Churn ended at 33 percent (Q3 2018: 29%) in the third quarter, impacted five percentage points by Komplett Mobil customers. Smartphone subscriptions stood at 555 thousand at the end of the third quarter.
Smartphone ARPU ended at NOK 231, down from NOK 234 in the corresponding quarter last year, but up from NOK 221 in the second quarter this year. The free month’s subscription for Komplett Mobil’s customers had a dilutive ARPU effect in both the second and third quarters this year.
Total operating revenue in the third quarter 2019 was NOK 483 million, up 9 percent from NOK 443 million last year. Smartphone service revenues increased by 26 percent to NOK 365 million (290). Adjusted EBITDA ended at NOK -20 million (-21), equivalent to a margin of -4 percent (-5%). Note that the 2019 figures do not include contribution from the divested Swedish operation, which is included in last year’s numbers.
Increased on-net traffic shares
Ice Group continues to invest in its 5G-ready Nokia smartphone network in order to increase traffic in its own network. The group’s average on-net data share was a record-high 73 percent (59%) in the third quarter, while average VoLTE share increased to 22 percent (1%). As a result, Ice Group’s NRA cost was 33 percent of smartphone service revenues in the third quarter (36%).
Subsequent to the quarter, Ice Group successfully completed a NOK 900 million senior unsecured bond issue with maturity in October 2023. The majority of proceeds will be used to finance further growth, while approximately NOK 280 million has been utilised for repurchase of the other outstanding unsecured bond (ticker ISGH01).
“The proceeds from the bond issue provides us with added financial flexibility as we continue to build out the third nationwide smartphone network in Norway,” adds Eivind Helgaker.
Ice Group expects continued smartphone subscription growth in coming quarters. Coupled with operational leverage in the group’s business model, Ice Group expects to reach EBITDA break-even during the second half of 2020.
For further details, please see the attached third quarter report and presentation (right hand side).
A presentation of the third quarter 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=98164499
For further information, please contact:
Investors: Henning Karlsrud, CFO of Ice Group, tel: +47 930 45 389; or Espen Risholm, head of investor relations, tel: +47 924 80 248, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.