- First reporting of the combined Tele Columbus, primacom and pepcom Group
- primacom and pepcom reflected in results effective from 1 August 2015 and 1 December 2015 respectively
- For the full year, the Group reported EUR 278.7 million of revenues, Normalised EBITDA of EUR 140.9 million and EBITDA margin of 50.5%
- In Q4 of fiscal year 2015, the Group reached EUR 96.9 million of revenues, Normalised EBITDA of EUR 51.9 million and an EBITDA margin of 53.6%
- Total capital expenditures amounted to EUR 113.6 million for the full year 2015 (40.8% of sales)
- Significant step-up in scale to 3.6 million homes connected of which 61% on two-way upgraded networks and own signal at the end of the fiscal year
- Strong organic Internet RGUs growth of approximately 16k RGUs in Q4
- Dynamic Premium TV growth with net adds of approximately 11k RGUs in Q4 from HD sales push
- 55 RGUs per subscriber and total blended ARPU of EUR 14.9 for the year (Q4: EUR 15.6)
Berlin, 21 March 2016. Following the acquisitions of PrimaCom Holding GmbH (“primacom”) and pepcom GmbH (“pepcom”), Tele Columbus AG (“Tele Columbus” or “Company”, all three entities named as “the Group”), published consolidated preliminary results of the combined Group. For the full year 2015, Tele Columbus reached revenues of EUR 278.7 million. In the same period, Normalised EBITDA amounted to EUR 140.9 million, resulting in a Normalised EBITDA margin of 50.5%. In total, Tele Columbus Group spent EUR 113.6 million capital expenditures in the year with Tele Columbus standalone contributing EUR 93.2 million in line with its reduced Capex guidance of EUR 80 to 100 million for 2015. On 31 December 2015, the Company served 3.6 million homes connected of which 61% were fully two-way upgraded and on own network.
The new Tele Columbus Group consisting of Tele Columbus, primacom and pepcom represents a strong number three player in the German cable market reaching close to 10 % of German homes. As of 31 December and with pepcom consolidated for the first time, the Company served 2.44 million customers, representing 2.46 million Cable TV RGUs (Revenue Generating Units) and 426k Premium TV RGUs. In addition, Internet RGUs amounted to 462k and Telephony RGUs reached 427k, an increase of 99k and 75k compared to the end of September 2015 respectively. Approximately 16k Internet net adds in Q4 came from organic growth.
“With the successful consolidation of primacom and pepcom we have set a new starting point for the further development of the company”, says Ronny Verhelst, CEO of Tele Columbus. “While still working consequently on the integration of the three entities we have managed at the same time to successfully pursue our goals and drive innovation of future products and services. This is a remarkable effort by the management team and all employees I am extremely proud of.”
On 1 October 2015, Tele Columbus launched a new HDTV push campaign offering a free three months trial of the encrypted private HD programs to its customers. Due to its success, the campaign had been extended until the end of December 2015 which added approximately 11k RGUs in Q4. There are further initiatives planned, for example for the European Football Championships in summer 2016.
On 14 October 2015, Tele Columbus announced a new core management consisting of nine members in total reflecting the increased size of the combined group. Ronny Verhelst and Frank Posnanski are continuing in their roles as CEO and CFO, respectively, and management board members (“Vorstandsmitglieder”) for the combined group. With the completion of the pepcom acquisition, the Managing Director of HL komm was appointed to the core management consisting now of ten members.
On 15 October 2015, Tele Columbus announced that it had entered into a cooperation agreement with ProSiebenSat.1 Group for Video on Demand (VoD) services. Maxdome subscription VoD will become an important layer of Tele Columbus’ planned Advanced TV platform.
On 29 October 2015, the Tele Columbus AG received a new rating from rating agency Standard & Poor’s (‘S&P’) following the financing of the pepcom acquisition announced in September 2015. Based on the final capital structure, S&P has as expectedly reduced the Corporate Family Rating of Tele Columbus Group from the current ‘B+’ rating with negative outlook to a new ‘B’ rating with stable outlook following the pepcom acquisition.
On 4 November 2015, Tele Columbus announced that the Hanover administrative functions will be moved to Berlin and Leipzig within two years.
On 6 November 2015, Tele Columbus successfully completed its rights offering with gross proceeds of approximately EUR 382.7 million resulting in net proceeds of circa EUR 363.3 million. As a result of the rights offering, Tele Columbus’ registered number of shares increased by 70,864,584 from 56,691,667 to 127,556,251. On the same day, Tele Columbus successfully accomplished its syndication of a January 2021 EUR 320 million First Lien Term Loan B and a July 2022 EUR 117 million Second Lien Term Loan.
On 30 November 2015, Tele Columbus announced the successful closing of its acquisition of Munich based pepcom, the fourth largest German cable network operator. The agreement to acquire pepcom was signed on 13 September 2015 with no regulatory approval and merger control review needed. Following the announcement, the assets of pepcom were consolidated effective 1 December 2015.
In October and November 2015, Tele Columbus acquired several local cable network operators and in January 2016, the Group bought another smaller L4 cable operator. As a strong number three player in the German cable market, Tele Columbus will continue to actively pursue further smaller acquisitions to strengthen its portfolio.
In December 2015, the negotiations with the workers council regarding a balance of interest (“Interessensausgleich”) for Tele Columbus and primacom started and continued throughout February and March 2016. A final decision is expected for mid 2016.
In January 2016 with effect from 1 March 2016, the Tele Columbus Group started a harmonization for Tele Columbus’ and primacom’s double play Internet and Telephony and triple play products. The download speeds for end customers were increased from 16 Mbit/s to 20 Mbit/s, from 50 Mbit/s to 60 Mbit/s, from 100 Mbit/s to 120 Mbit/s and from 150 Mbit/s to 200 Mbit/s respectively. Approximately 200k existing Internet and telephony customers were affected.
On 10 February 2016, TecDAX listed United Internet, Montabaur, announced that it owns 9.8% of shares in Tele Columbus AG and contractually secured a share package amounting to another approx. 15.31%. United Internet noted that Tele Columbus AG is a well positioned company with attractive market opportunities and that it wants to accompany the company’s ongoing development as a strategic investor in order to benefit from its growth in value. The anti-trust authority approved the transaction on 9 March 2016 and United Internet became the single largest shareholder owning 25.11% in Tele Columbus AG.
In February 2016, Tele Columbus entered into agreements with IKB and J.P. Morgan on hedging a large portion of its credit facilities. EUR 1,100 million of the debt is hedged long term until December 2020. The variable underlying interest rate base (EURIBOR) is capped at 75bp.
In February 2016, the Group started a friendly user test of its Advanced TV product in Tele Columbus footprint. With its planned Advanced TV platform, Tele Columbus will enhance the customer experience by further innovative features such as interactive, time-shift and multi-screen TV usage. Through the integration of maxdome to its platform, Tele Columbus customers will have access to movies, series and documentaries out of Germany’s largest online video library.
On 1 March 2016, Tele Columbus launched its free Wifi service “Community WLAN”. Existing Tele Columbus and primacom Internet customers with active WLAN function are able to connect to approximately 50k hotspots in the Tele Columbus footprint for free mobile internet access. The new service offers up to 10 Mbit/s download speeds, unlimited data and no restrictions on usage.
Tele Columbus will host its first Capital Markets Day on 11 April 2016 providing
- an update of its future strategy,
- high level pro forma 2015 numbers for the combined group,
- guidance for the fiscal year 2016,
- medium term outlook similar to the outlook Tele Columbus gave at the time of the IPO.
11 April 2016: First Capital Markets Day (capital markets participants only)
10 June 2016: Annual General Meeting
Summary table for Q4 FY2014 / preliminary Q4 FY2015 and FY2014 / preliminary FY2015 respectively: