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Digi closes 2019 with robust financial performance

Consolidated revenues of Digi Communications N.V., the leading telecommunication group with businesses in Romania, Hungary, Spain and Italy and the parent company of RCS & RDS SA reached approximately EUR 1.2 billion in 2019, according to preliminary unaudited annual financial results revealed today.

In 2019 the company increased revenues by 14.2% compared to 2018, from EUR 1.038 bln to EUR 1.186 bln with an adjusted EBITDA of EUR 446 million (including IFRS 16) representing a 37.5% rise compared to the previous year.

In addition, RGUs increased by 8%, by the year-end to EUR 16.1 mln compared to EUR 14.9 mln last year, currently standing at the highest level the company has ever achieved.

The company tells that there were several factors contributing to the strong growth. Pay-tv services (cable-tv and direct-to-home) grew 5.4%, from 4.8 million RGUs to 5.1 million RGUs. Fixed internet went up by 9.8%, from 3.3 million RGUs to 3.6 million RGUs, while mobile communications services grew 14.5% from 5 million RGUs to 5.7 million RGUs.

Strong performance in all markets

In Romania, the group continued its positive trend in increasing RGUs in the cable-tv and internet segment, with 6.9% increase on pay-tv RGUs and a 9.8 % increase of the fixed internet service RGUs.

Digi says that the steady increase in RGUs for the main business lines was supported by a continued upgrading of the optical fiber infrastructure, mobile communications network and in improving levels of customer care.

In Hungary, RGUs for the cable-TV of Digi subsidiary were 694,000 units. In the fixed internet segment, Digi recorded 750,000 RGUs on December 31, 2019. The testing phase of the mobile communications services segment was launched in May 2019, growing to 99,000 RGUs at the end of the year. Digi continued the process of expanding its optical fiber network and also successfully tested 5G mobile communications services in Budapest last November. 

In Spain and Italy recorded a significant increase in RGUs, achieving growth of 45% compared to the prior year rising to 2.2 million RGUs by the end of 2019, up from 1.5 million RGUs on December 31, 2018. 

According to the groupʼs data, during 2019 Digi Spain became the second fastest-growing MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) and the fifth mobile communications operator in Spain and marked its 11th quarter of accelerated growth, gaining 166,000 RGUs in the last three months of the previous year. 

Investment in new projects

Digi continued to develop new projects and adopt new technologies , investing a total of EUR 318 mln in 2019 for technological developments, mainly in Romania and Hungary. This included projects to expand the 4G network and 5G network roll-out in Romania, the 4G network roll-out in Hungary as well as the fiber optic infrastructure development in Romania, Hungary, and Spain. 

The company adds that it has continued to adopt a prudent capital and financing strategy to maintain a leverage ratio of EBITDA well below the average ratio of other cable operators in Europe. In 2019, Digi Communications reported a 2.6x leverage ratio.

"2019 was as an outstanding year for our company, in terms of growth in revenues, improved EBITDA and technological development," Serghei Bulgac, CEO Digi Communications, says. "We are proud of our teams’ achievements – the 5G roll-out in Romania, our mobile telephony services starting in Hungary and the accelerated growth in Spain. These all demonstrate our commitment and success in delivering a better quality of services to all our clients."

"The success of our latest bond issue in early 2020 was also an important achievement and confirms the confidence of the institutional investors’ in our Group. This latest bond offering took place on January 27, 2020, and set a new benchmark for a Romanian private company financing transaction," he adds.

The CEO also notes that, "RCS & RDS, Digiʼs branch in Romania, successfully priced the offering to raise EUR 450 mln 2.50% senior secured notes due 2025 and another EUR 400 mln 3.25% senior secured notes due 2028. we express our gratitude for the confirmation received from the investors and our partners."