“Partner presents today impressive annual results and proves, quarter after quarter, that it is a robust, stable and growing company. The business results are the outcome of the determined implementation of the Company’s business strategy, which is based upon growth and establishing Partner’s core operations, in cellular and in fixed-line, while focusing on the accelerated deployment of its independent fiber-optic network and the connection of customers to the network. Along with growth in the cellular segment, an improvement in profitability and a strong balance sheet, Partner is positioned today as a leading and attractive communications group. On behalf of Partner’s Board of Directors, I would like to thank Partner’s CEO, Avi Zvi, the management, and the Company’s employees for the achievements and the good results.”
Commenting on the results for the fourth quarter and full year 2021, Mr. Avi Zvi, CEO of Partner, noted:
“Partner ended 2021 with improvements in its key financial measures, despite the ongoing COVID–19 impacts and the continued highly competitive landscape in the Israeli telecoms market.
The results reflect the importance the Company places on the customer who is at the epicenter of the Company’s activities. We believe in transparency, fairness and in attentiveness towards our customers. It is not without reason that the cellular segment consistently continues to expand its subscriber base, having exceeded the three million subscribers mark in the last quarter.
Partner has strengthened its standing as a leading infrastructure player and, as such, it was decided to accelerate the deployment of our fiber-optic infrastructure with the aim of connecting approximately one million households by the end of this year, including in peripheral areas. In the cellular segment, Partner intends to continue with the accelerated deployment of 5G sites with the aim of achieving over 40% population coverage by the end of this year. In TV services, Partner is also prepared for the expected entrance of additional international streaming services with its unique super-aggregator model.
Partner excels with human capital of the first degree which is equipped, in particular, with the flexibility and adaptability necessary for the new era and changing conditions, in both its human and technological aspects. As part of our strategy, we are investing in the work environment and workforce compensation. Partner is proud of the renewal of the Collective Employment Agreement for a further three years. The commitment of all our employees has played a significant role in the impressive financial results for 2021.
I would like to thank Partner’s Board of Directors, headed by Chairperson Osnat Ronen, for their complete backing for the measures we have taken over the past year.”
Mr. Tamir Amar, Partner’s Deputy CEO & Chief Financial Officer, commented on the results:
“2021 ended with another quarter of subscriber growth accompanied by growth in profit and profitability. The cellular segment achieved service revenue growth for a third consecutive quarter with higher profitability than was achieved in the fourth quarter of 2019 – prior to COVID-19. Early signs of the strategic shift of continued focus towards fiber-optics and measures taken to improve the TV results can be seen in fixed-line segment profitability, which continued to improve and presented an increase of 35% in Adjusted EBITDA compared to the corresponding quarter last year.
Our cellular subscriber base increased this year by 137 thousand and 22 thousand, respectively in 2021 and the last quarter. Including subscribers of data and voice packages, provided to students with a fixed twelve-month package by the Ministry of Education, the subscriber base increased in 2021 by 187 thousand, including an increase of four thousand in the last quarter of the year.
The churn rate in the fourth quarter of 2021 totaled 7.9%, or 7.3% excluding Ministry of Education subscribers, compared to 7.2% in the corresponding quarter last year. ARPU in the fourth quarter totaled NIS 48, compared to NIS 49 in the corresponding quarter last year. Despite the volatile impact of COVID-19 on interconnect revenues and roaming service revenues in the course of 2021, the Company succeeded in maintaining a level of ARPU of NIS 48 in every quarter of 2021.
The number of Homes Connected (HC) within buildings connected to our fiber-optic infrastructure reached 700 thousand at the end of the year, an increase of 235 thousand in 2021 compared to an increase of 141 thousand in 2020, as a result of the acceleration of the fiber-optic deployment phase. In the fourth quarter alone the number of Homes Connected within buildings connected to our fiber-optic infrastructure increased by 76 thousand compared to an increase of only 33 thousand in the corresponding quarter last year.
Partner’s fiber-optic subscriber base totaled 212 thousand at the end of the year, reflecting a 30% penetration rate from potential customers in connected buildings, the same rate as at the end of last year. Partner’s fiber-optic subscriber base increased by 73 thousand in 2021 compared to an increase of 63 thousand in 2020; our fiber-optic subscriber base increased by 20 thousand in the last quarter of 2021, compared to an increase of 19 thousand in both the previous quarter and the corresponding quarter last year.
The Company’s intention is to deploy additional fiber-optic infrastructure within Israel, which will provide international telecommunications operators with connections and data transfer services between the Far East/ Gulf countries and Europe, thereby offering a sustainable alternative to the existing connections, including through the Suez Canal. The first agreement for such services was completed in January 2022, and Partner intends to further extend this line of business in the future.
Regarding our television services, the subscriber base remained unchanged from the previous quarter and totaled 226 thousand. The overall increase in 2021 was 15 thousand, mainly due to the impact of the strategic business change in TV services. However, the reported subscriber base decreased by 6 thousand, taking into account the proactive removal of subscribers who had remained in trial periods of over six months without charge or usage that we carried out in the second quarter of 2021.
Adjusted EBITDA in the fourth quarter totaled NIS 250 million, an increase of 23% compared to NIS 203 million in the corresponding quarter last year.
Looking ahead, the Company expects that in the first quarter of 2022, due to the continued increase in air travel compared to the corresponding quarter last year, the moderate recovery in roaming service revenues will continue compared to the corresponding quarter last year, but to a lesser degree than in fourth quarter of 2021 due to the impact of seasonality and of the COVID-19 Omicron variant.
The acceleration of the fiber-optic deployment impacted upon CAPEX payments in the fourth quarter of 2021, which totaled NIS 212 million. On an annual basis, CAPEX payments totaled NIS 672 million in 2021 compared to NIS 573 million in 2020. The Company currently expects that CAPEX payments will increase further in 2022, by approximately the same amount as the increase recorded in 2021, to be succeeded by a significant CAPEX payments decrease in 2023, following the completion of the major phase of deployment of the fiber-optic infrastructure by the end of 2022. As in 2021, the Company’s continued investment in the 5G cellular network is not expected to have a significant impact on CAPEX payments in 2022.
The Adjusted Free Cash Flow (before interest and including lease payments) for the fourth quarter totaled negative NIS 79 million, mainly reflecting the increase in CAPEX payments, an advance-payment of frequency fees in an amount of NIS 55 million and the annual payment for the government-mandated fiber incentive fund. For 2022, the impact of the expected increase in capital expenditure payments on Adjusted Free Cash Flow is expected to be offset by other factors, including the impact of the advance-payment of frequency fees to the Ministry of Communications that was made in 2021.
Net debt of the Company was NIS 744 million at the end of 2021, compared with NIS 657 million at the end of 2020, an increase of NIS 87 million. The Company’s net debt to Adjusted EBITDA ratio remained at 0.8 at year-end 2021.”
Source : https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/partner-communications-reports-fourth-quarter-and-annual-2021-results1-301491288.html
- Partner Communications Company Ltd.
- +972 54 7814888
- Rosh Haayin