Telephone made a net profit of 886 million euros during the first three months of 2021, 118.3% more than in the same period of the previous year. The operator has said that these results "show the strength of the business model, the effectiveness of the applied management, focused on reducing costs and stable operating cash flow, and the lesser impact of the effects derived from the pandemic and the evolution of exchange rates with respect to the close of 2020. " earnings per share reaches 0.15 euros in the first three months of the year, compared to 0.06 euros in the same period last year.
"These results reflect the success of our strategic plan and Telefónica's ability to execute to achieve sustainable and profitable growth, driven by our technology businesses and by the deployment of the best networks and services", stressed José María Álvarez-Pallete, president of Telefónica.
In the first quarter, the group's revenues reached 10,340 million euros, 9% less than in the same period of 2020 and 1.3% lower in organic terms. For its part, operating profit before amortization (OIBDA) was 3,417 million euros, with a fall of 9.1% year-on-year and a rise of 0.3% in organic terms.
The company has said that the first quarter figures put it on the path of meeting the financial targets set for 2021, consisting of a stabilization of income and operating income before amortization (OIBDA) and a return to a normalized level of investment (CapEx) on sales of up to 15%.
"Both income and OIBDA already express that progressive stabilization, since they reflect a sequential improvement for the third consecutive quarter, "he added.
The four main markets, Spain, Germany, United Kingdom and Brazil, contribute 78% of the income and 88% of the OIBDA. By geography, Spain provides 29% of the group's income and 35% of OIBDA; Germany, 18% and 16%; United Kingdom, 15% and 16%; and Brazil, 16% and 21%, respectively. From Hispam, for its part, comes 19% of the income and 12% of the OIBDA.
DEBT: EXPECTED FALL OF 9 BILLION
As of March 31, the net financial debt stood at 35,796 million euros, 6.4% less than a year before. Once the pending closing operations materialize, the debt will be reduced approximately by an additional 9,000 million euros, the company has anticipated. With this cut, it would be around the 26,000 million euros, half of the existing in mid-2016.
Telefónica added that, in parallel, it maintains a "solid" liquidity position after refinancing activity for an amount of 3,022 million euros in the quarter. The company has liquidity close to 20,000 million euros.
Excluding spectrum payments, cash generation for the quarter reached 727 million euros, more than 200% higher than in the first quarter of 2020. This box, however, was largely used for payments made after spectrum auctions in the UK, Chile and Spain, so the figure registered in the first quarter stood at 33 million euros, 85% less than a year ago.
Operating cash flow (OIBDA-CapEx) decreased 38% in reported terms and increased 0.1% in organic terms, also as a consequence of spectrum auctions, which represent a total of 694 million euros.
The OIBDA margin on turnover increases to 33% and the operating cash flow margin over sales improved to 20.1%.
STRATEGIC PLAN "AT A GOOD PACE"
Telefónica has said that the five pillars that support its strategy "they are advancing at a good pace". With regard to the main markets, Spain maintains its European leadership in fiber deployment and already achieves 5G coverage of 80% of the territory, while in the United Kingdom the merger of O2 and Virgin Media is progressing as expected, after that the British regulator (CMA) approve the operation on a preliminary basis in April. In Brazil, the acquisition of Oi's mobile assets is also continuing, and in Germany the company closed a national roaming agreement with 1 & 1 Drillisch during the quarter that guarantees a long-term revenue stream.
With regard to Latin America, "the improvement in the operating model is becoming more and more evident," said Telefónica. Maximizing efficiencies in operating costs and investment make possible a "strong" increase in operating cash flow in the region.
Telefónica Tech increases revenues by 25.1%, to 166 million euros, while continuing with the service migration process and the transfer of business and assets.
As for Telefónica Infra, the operator underlines that its main success during this first quarter was the sale of Telxius's tower business to American Tower Company for 7,700 million euros, an operation at record multiples and a benchmark in the sector.
Finally, regarding the fifth strategic pillar, the digitization of processes accounts for 79%, while digital sales have grown 37% in the four key markets and now represent 35% of the total.
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