Telecom operator VEON reported revenue of $2,281 million (+13.1 percent), EBITDA of $861 million (+13.6 percent), net loss of $11 million ($37 million profit) and Capex of $263 million (+75 percent) in Q1 2017.
“In the first quarter of 2017, VEON recorded double-digit revenue and EBITDA growth, boosted by currency tailwinds. We generated almost $200 million in underlying equity free cash flow and are on track with our guidance for the year,” said Jean-Yves Charlier, chief executive officer of VEON.
Capex excluding licenses increased 75 percent to $263 million in Q1 2017, due to Capex in Russia and Ukraine. There was procurement-related delay in the prior year and increased Capex in Pakistan due to the integration with Warid and the related 3G and 4G/LTE network expansion.
The ratio of LTM Capex excluding licenses to revenue was 18.7 percent. The company maintains its strategy of investing in high-speed data networks to capture mobile data growth, including the continued roll-out of 4G/LTE networks in Russia and Algeria and 3G networks in Algeria, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Ukraine.
Russia Capex excluding licenses more than doubled as a result of the accelerated roll-out of the high-speed data network, which lead to 59 percent 4G population coverage. The Capex to revenue ratio for Q1 2017 was 16.5 percent.
Pakistan Capex increased to PKR 3.6 billion while the Capex to revenue ratio decreased to 17.7 percent in Q1 2017. At the end of the first quarter, 3G was offered in more than 350 cities while 4G was offered in over 50 cities.
Algeria Capex was DZD 2.9 billion, broadly flat year on year, while the Capex to revenue ratio was 16.6 percent.
Bangladesh Capex decreased 43 percent to BDT 0.8 billion, with Capex to revenue ratio of 20.9 percent. Banglalink invested in efficient, high-speed data networks aiming to substantially improve its 3G network coverage, which covered 65 percent of the population.
Ukraine Capex was UAH 737 million with Capex to revenue ratio of 20.6 percent. Kyivstar made investment in roll-out of its 3G network in Q1 2017 reaching a population coverage of 64 percent from 40 percent last year.
Uzbekistan Capex was UZS 74.9 billion and Capex to revenue ratio was 26 percent, mainly due to prepayments of equipment in Q4 2016 for 2017 deployment. The company invested in its high-speed data networks as it improved the 4G/LTE coverage in Tashkent and increased the number of 3G sites by 36 percent.
Italy Capex in Q1 2017 totaled EUR 240 million and was primarily focused on capacity and coverage of the 4G/LTE and HSPA+.