s KKPNY CEO Eelco Blok on Q4 2014 Results
Let me first briefly point out that safe harbor statement applies to this presentation and that any forward looking statements made in this presentation do not differ from those already made in the press release published this morning.
Walter, thank you. Good afternoon. And Welcome to this presentation of our results for the fourth quarter and full year 2014. With me today are Jan Kees de Jager our CFO and Joost Farwerck, our Chief Operating Officer.
And I am very pleased that the managing team will now be completed by the first of March, when Frank van der Post will be joining us as Chief Commercial Officer. Before we go through the details, I will summarize the highlights of the year and the strategic and operational progress we are making.
Let me say that we start 2015 in a considerably better place from where we were this time last year. The divestment of E plus was transformational for the KPN Group. After the sale, KPN is significantly more focused on the Netherlands, where we are the market leader and have strengthened our position with the full consolidation of Reggefiber.
We now also have more financial flexibility to pursue our strategies for the Dutch and Belgium markets. I explained those strategies at our Capital Markets Day a year ago when I told you, we would deliver improving operational performance by building on our strong fundamentals.
During 2014, we have delivered on the operational KPI’s which are showing strong momentum as we start 2015. There was customer base growth in really all main consumer and business services in the Netherlands supported by the high investments in networks, products and customers over the past year.
In Belgium, we continue to focus on executing our challenger strategy. Our high mobile network investments in the last two years strengthened our network quality and led to more than 80% 4G coverage at the end of 2014.
The execution of our simplification program is ahead of schedule and I am proud to say that customers are really appreciating KPN again, which is feasible in all time high net promoter scores.
The area where we faced more challenges in 2014 was the Dutch business segment. Here we are taking additional measures, I will say more about that later on.
Despite the impact on the results from the business segment, the good operational results are translating into a better financial performance, the decline in adjusted revenues and adjusted EBITDA gradually improved in each successive quarter of 2014.
Now let’s look at some of the key milestones marking our strategic progress in 2014. Just to pick out a few items, we reached more than two million 4G customers in Q4 that shows the power of having the first nationwide and highest quality 4G network combined with unique converged services.
In fixed, we’re driving forward with ever higher network speed and capacity. We are now able to offer hundred megabit per second to half of the Dutch population.
Overall in 2014 we passed two million TV subscribers and reached more than 750,000 customers in converged, fixed mobile bundles in the consumer and business markets.
I would also highlight the increased financial flexibility following the sale of E Plus, which allows us to recommend dividend payments and to reduce our financial liabilities through the bond tender and pension agreement.
In Q4, we acquired the remaining 49% stake in Reggefiber. We will now get the full benefit of Reggefiber’s expertise and will enjoy enhanced flexibility as we pursue our hybrid upgraded copper fiber to the home strategy. Joost will elaborate on this in his presentation.
As we look ahead to 2015 and beyond, we will continue with these main strategic themes building on our strong fundamentals. We’re uniquely positioned in the Netherlands to supply the exponentially growing demands for data.
For example last month, we announced the introduction of TV everywhere. At same time we launched a new consumer mobile lineup with larger data bundles, which enable carefree usage. Fixed mobile customers can now get up to 20 gigabit of data allowance per month.
We continue to focus on strengthening the capacity of our fixed and mobile networks to accommodate the strong data uses growth, but also to stay ahead of customer demand.
In 2015 we will the next step in the execution of our simplification program with a strong focus on simplifying our process and rationalizing networks and IT. As I said at the start, we’ve seen an improving financial performance in 2014. For 2015, we expect adjusted EBITDA to stabilized by the end of the year.
We will keep investing to stay ahead of competition in terms of network quality and to further develop our differentiating services. However due to the higher simplification savings and more efficient network investments, we are able to lower our CapEx outlook for 2015. We now expect CapEx of less than $1.4 billion down from the previous guidance of less than $1.5 billion.
All in all, we expect 2015 free cash flow to grow versus 2014. To be clear, this guidance excludes one off items in 2014, which Jan Kees will further elaborate on in a minute.
We promised last year that we would resume dividend payment subject to the sale of E Plus. We’ll ask the AGM to approve a total dividend of $0.07 per share for 2014, which means a final payment of $0.05 per share in April 2015.
Our current intention is to increase the dividend to $0.08 per share in respect of 2015 with a further rise in 2016.
As we have said before, we considered Telefnica Deutschland state as an attractive financial investments. Any excess cash could be used to increase our financial and operational flexibility, pursue small income through M and/or additional shareholder remuneration, for example as dividends or share buybacks.
I would now like to hand over to Jan Kees for the financial review.
Thank you, Eelco and good afternoon, everyone.
I’m Jan Kees de Jager, the new CFO and I have to say that I’m not only delighted, but also excited to be in this new position and I’m also looking forward to meeting you all personally over the coming weeks and months and of course looking forward through the challenges ahead.
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