Correction: VEON publishes preliminary 4Q22 and FY22 results
VEON publishes preliminary 4Q22 and FY22 results
Sale of Russia will lead to a significant reduction in debt
Amsterdam, 16 March 2022: A correction has been issued for the release disseminated today at 07:00 CET. The figure for EBITDA in FY 2022 highlights was inaccurately cited. The correct amount is USD 1,743 million. The complete and corrected release follows:
Amsterdam, 16 March 2022 07:00 CET: VEON Ltd. (NASDAQ: VEON, Euronext Amsterdam: VEON), a global digital operator that provides converged connectivity and online services, announces selected financial and operating results for the fourth quarter and full year ended 31 December 2022, excluding the results of the Russian operations, as they were classified as ‘held for sale’ and ‘discontinued operations’ in 4Q22:
In Q4 2022, VEON’s local currency performance accelerated sharply with total revenues of USD 940 million, -4.9% YoY in reported currency (+18.6% YoY in local currency), service revenues were USD 901 million, -4.4% YoY in reported currency (+19.2% in local currency), and EBITDA was USD 453 million, +1.2% YoY in reported currency (+30.1% YoY in local currency).
For FY 2022, VEON’s total revenues amounted to USD 3,755 million, -2.4% YoY in reported currency (+14.0% YoY local currency), service revenues were USD 3,600 million, -2.4% YoY in reported currency (+13.9% YoY in local currency), and EBITDA was USD 1,743 million, -5.3% YoY in reported currency (+12.6% YoY local currency). Full-year capex of USD 832 million was 2.9% higher than in 2021, with capex intensity up 1.1 p.p. as the company invested in 4G network expansion. Total cash and cash equivalents were USD 3.1 billion, with USD 2.5 billion held at the HQ level.
Commenting on the results, Kaan Terzioglu said: “In the final quarter of 2022, we added further operational momentum and recorded double-digit local currency revenue growth in five of our countries, doubling the growth rate from a year ago. With our Russian operations now classified as ‘held for sale’ and ‘discontinued operations’ and not contributing to Group revenues, VEON’s topline growth in local currency for the full year 2022 was 14.0%. Furthermore, the sale of Russia will result in the significant deleveraging of the Group balance sheet. While we are smaller in size, we are now a faster growing company, serving emerging markets with strong potential demand for the services that VEON’s Digital Operator 1440 model offers.
In 2022, each of our operations achieved significant growth, both in terms of financial performance and the operational metrics that underpin our business. Our local operating companies collectively added 14 million 4G customers, bringing 4G-powered digital ‘multiplay’ users to 22% of our subscriber base while growing ARPU and customer engagement by providing more relevant connected services for our core telecom users. This strong operational performance has continued and YTD February 2023 local currency revenues are up by 15.2% YoY and local currency EBITDA up by 11.8% YoY. With continued focus on operational performance as well as financial discipline and liquidity management, including our strong liquidity position at year-end, we are well positioned to deliver growth while significantly deleveraging VEON’s balance sheet and enhancing VEON’s credit profile in 2023.”
Q4 2022 highlights
FY 2022 highlights
In 4Q22, VEON accelerated local currency revenue & EBITDA growth and continued to gain market share in each of its markets. The Group maintained strong liquidity, with Group cash and cash equivalents of USD 3.1 billion as of 31 December 2022.
Total Group revenues decreased by 4.9% YoY during 4Q22 in reported currency and increased by 18.6% in local currency terms, with Ukraine revenues growing 8.7% YoY in local currency and all other countries reporting double-digit local currency revenue growth for the period. Service revenues decreased by 4.4% YoY in reported currency and rose by 19.2% YoY in local currency.
In 4Q22, Group EBITDA increased by 1.2% YoY in reported currency terms (+30.1% in local currency), with Group EBITDA margin of 48.2% (+2.9 p.p. YoY). Energy costs increased across the Group +c.30% YoY negatively impacting Group EBITDA margin. We remain focused on implementing planned cost-efficiency measures across the Group and on applying inflationary pricing across our operations. Project Optimum delivered c.USD 95 million of savings in 2022 with cost intensity improving by 2.5 p.p. YoY in local currency.
The Group’s YoY revenues and EBITDA performance was impacted by several extraordinary non-recurring items in 4Q22 and in 4Q21, as noted in the Country Performance section. Excluding these one-off items, Group total revenue increased by 15.4% YoY, service revenue increased by 15.8% YoY and EBITDA increased by 7.4% YoY in local currency.
In 4Q22, we reported subscriber base growth of 2.7% YoY. The Group continued to focus on overall customer experience, seeing improving Net Promoter Score (“NPS”) across most of the countries. This supported a 19.4% YoY increase in 4G users, which reached 84.6 million, with 13.8 million users added during the year. As of 31 December 2022, 4G subscribers accounted for 53.9% of our total subscriber base, up 7.5 p.p. from a year earlier supporting the execution of VEON’s Digital Operator strategy.
Each of our operations have increased their ARPU levels YoY as they delivered a broader range of services to their customers, achieving greater wallet shares while also implementing inflationary pricing.
Our operating companies continued to execute VEON’s Digital Operator strategy (“DO1440”), aiming to deliver digital experiences for every minute of the day powered by high-quality mobile internet connectivity. On the back of our growing 4G penetration and with increasing usage of our digital services, we have expanded our multiplay customer base by 40.3% YoY, with 28.4 million multiplay customers at the end of December. While representing just 22% of the user base, multiplay customers were the source of 38.6% of VEON’s B2C revenues. Multiplay customer ARPU is 3.6 times higher, and churn is 0.4 times lower than for single play voice-only customers.
Media streaming services Toffee in Bangladesh and Tamasha in Pakistan were among key drivers of growth in multiplay, as well as our overall digital offering. Toffee in Bangladesh reached 21.2 million monthly active users (“MAUs”) in December 2022, a 3.3-fold YoY increase, with 5.2 million average daily users (5.0 times higher YoY). Tamasha in Pakistan reached 4.3 million MAUs, a 3.5-fold YoY increase.
Our digital financial services business in Pakistan, JazzCash, increased its monthly active users by 8.0% YoY, reaching 16.4 million MAUs and increasing its 12-month total transaction volume by 31.3% YoY.
In 4Q22, Group capex was USD 263 million, driven by investment in 4G networks in Ukraine, Bangladesh and Uzbekistan, in line with our growth strategy. At 22.1%, capex intensity increased marginally by 1.1 p.p. YoY, primarily due to adverse FX rate movements. We closed the fourth quarter with total cash of USD 3.1 billion, including USD 2.5 billion at the HQ level. Our operations remain largely self-funding.
In Ukraine, the team continued to work to keep the country connected, with around 90% of our radio network operational at the end of the quarter. However, over the course of the quarter, damage to Ukrainian power infrastructure impacted network availability at times. Kyivstar’s revenues were up 8.7% YoY in local currency (-20.7% YoY in reported currency); the Ukrainian hryvnia’s forex performance negatively impacted reported currency growth rates. Kyivstar’s 4G customer base grew 8.2% YoY, and our customers consumed more data, with data usage rising 26.3% YoY. EBITDA decreased by 7.3% YoY in local currency (-32.4% YoY in reported currency) in 4Q22. EBITDA performance was impacted by the change in revenue mix impacting margins, operational cost pressures including energy costs, indexation of frequency fees, as well as by charitable donations and the staff care program, as Kyivstar continues to support its employees and the community.
Pakistan revenues rose 24.3% YoY in local currency (-2.6% YoY in reported currency), driven by strong growth in data revenue, despite the negative impact of the increase in withholding tax from 10% to 15% on 16 January 2022, and the further reduction in mobile termination rates from PKR 0.70 last year to PKR 0.40 from 01 July 2022. The weakness in the Pakistani rupee negatively impacted financial performance in reported currency. Jazz grew its subscriber base (+1.5% YoY), 4G users (+17.9% YoY) and ARPU (+22.0% YoY) in 4Q22. EBITDA in Pakistan rose by 86.9% YoY in local currency (+46.9% YoY in reported currency). Revenue and EBITDA performance in 4Q22 was positively impacted by the reversal of a provision following a favorable decision from the Islamabad High Court on pending litigation, increasing recorded revenues by PKR 6.6 billion (c.USD 30 million) and EBITDA by PKR 20.2 billion (c.USD 91 million). Higher energy prices in Pakistan negatively impacted EBITDA margin by c.4 p.p.
In Kazakhstan, revenues increased 20.0% YoY in local currency (+10.2% YoY in reported currency), another quarter of strong growth supported by further expansion of our mobile customer base (+6.8% YoY), higher data usage (+19.2% YoY) and inflationary pricing of tariffs. This was the seventh consecutive quarter of local-currency revenue YoY growth above 20%, while Beeline Kazakhstan reached 68.3% 4G penetration in the customer base (+4.7 p.p. YoY). EBITDA rose by 7.0% YoY in local currency terms (-1.6% YoY in reported currency).
In Bangladesh, Banglalink’s revenues increased 16.9% YoY n local currency (-2.5% YoY in reported currency). This was the third quarter of double-digit local currency revenue growth. Banglalink’s execution of its Digital Operator strategy, 4G focus and nation-wide expansion continue to deliver results, with the rising number of data and, in particular, 4G users, driving growth in data consumption. Banglalink reported balanced expansion of its subscriber base (+7.1% YoY) and ARPU (+5.0% YoY) in 4Q22. EBITDA decreased 9.7% YoY in local currency (-24.7% YoY in reported currency) impacted by the higher network related costs and minimum tax on gross revenue paid in 4Q22.
In Uzbekistan, revenues increased 30.3% YoY in local currency (+25.3% YoY in reported currency), a sixth consecutive quarter of double-digit revenue growth and a fourth consecutive quarter of revenue growth above 20%. This was driven by a 28.4% YoY expansion in the 4G subscriber base and a solid increase in data revenues, which were 38.9% higher YoY. EBITDA rose 14.4% YoY in local currency (+10.0% YoY in reported currency).
As VEON Group strengthens its position for accelerating growth, our 2023 local currency guidance for both revenue and EBITDA is growth of 10%-14%. VEON’s 2023 outlook for the Group’s capex intensity is in the range of 18%-20% (See Disclaimer on pages 25-26 below for a discussion of factors that could cause actual results to differ from expectations).
Key recent developments
1 The sale of VEON’s Russian operations is subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of requisite regulatory approvals and licenses from relevant government authorities. There can be no assurance that the requisite approvals will be received or that such sale will complete.
View the full 4Q22 and FY22 earnings release
View 4Q22 and FY22 results presentation
VEON is a global digital operator that currently provides converged connectivity and online services to over 200 million customers in seven dynamic markets. We are transforming people’s lives, empowering individuals, creating opportunities for greater digital inclusion and driving economic growth across countries that are home to more than 8% of the world’s population. Headquartered in Amsterdam, VEON is listed on NASDAQ and Euronext. For more information visit: https://www.veon.com.
Notice to reader: impact of conflict
VEON's results and other financial information presented in these financial statements are, unless otherwise stated, prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards ("IFRS") based on internal management reporting, are the responsibility of management, and have not been externally audited, reviewed, or verified. As such, you should not place undue reliance on this information. This information may not be indicative of the actual results for any future period.
The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine and the sanctions imposed by the United States, member states of the European Union, the European Union itself, the United Kingdom, Ukraine and certain other nations, counter-sanctions by Russia and other legal and regulatory responses, as well as responses by our service providers, partners, suppliers and other counterparties, and the consequences of all of the foregoing have impacted and, if the conflict, sanctions and such responses continue or escalate, may significantly impact our results and aspects of our operations in Russia and Ukraine, and may significantly affect our results and aspects of our operations in the other countries in which we operate. We are closely monitoring events in Russia and Ukraine, as well as the possibility of the imposition of further sanctions in connection with the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine and any resulting further rise in tensions between Russia and the United States, the United Kingdom and/or the European Union. Although our Russian operations are now classified as ‘held for sale’ and ‘discontinued operations’ and do not contribute to our comparison base or actual reported numbers in this release (except as specifically stated), our operations in Ukraine continue to be affected by the conflict. We hope that there will be a peaceful and amicable resolution and are doing everything we can to protect the safety of our employees, while continuing to ensure the uninterrupted operation of our communications, financial and digital services.
The comprehensive sanctions on investment and vendors in Russia and the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine have had and may continue to have a significant impact on the Company’s operations and business plans in Russia and Ukraine. During the twelve months-ended 31 December 2022, we have recorded significant impairment charges related to the Russian and Ukrainian operations. We may need to record future impairment charges, which could be significant if the conflict continues or escalates and as more information becomes available to management. It is possible further impairment charges may rise to such a level on an accounting basis as to require additional analysis of true asset values in order to determine the true value of assets to be compared to liabilities as outlined in the provisions of our debt agreements.
Due to the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine and the consequences as mentioned above, the Company requires additional time to complete all necessary disclosures in its Annual Report on Form 20-F to be filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“U.S. SEC”) as well as its Dutch financial statements to be filed with the Autoriteit Financiële Markten (“AFM”), including completing its preparation of VEON’s consolidated financial statements and subsequently receiving the related audit report on the financial statements and internal control over financial reporting from its independent registered public accounting firm. As a result, VEON anticipates it will not be able to file its Dutch financial statements with the AFM by April 30, 2023, nor its Annual Report on Form 20-F by May 1, 2023, the respective deadlines for filing. If VEON is not able to complete these filings by the prescribed deadlines (or the May 16, 2023 date for extension of the Form 20-F filing deadline provided by U.S. Securities Exchange Act Rule 12b-25), it cannot be ruled out that the AFM, Euronext, U.S. SEC or Nasdaq might, following the missed deadline, take action against VEON, which could include imposition of a fine or grant of a further grace period, or in the most extreme cases, deregistration of VEON’s securities and/or delisting of such securities from Nasdaq and/or Euronext.
VEON’s results presented in this earnings release are, unless otherwise stated, based on IFRS and have not been externally reviewed and audited. The financial information included in this earnings release is preliminary and is based on a number of assumptions that are subject to inherent uncertainties and subject to change. The financial information presented herein is based on internal management accounts, is the responsibility of management and is subject to financial closing procedures which have not yet been completed and has not been audited, reviewed or verified. Certain amounts and percentages that appear in this earnings release have been subject to rounding adjustments. As a result, certain numerical figures shown as totals, including those in the tables, may not be an exact arithmetic aggregation of the figures that precede or follow them. Although we believe the information to be reasonable, actual results may vary from the information contained above and such variations could be material. As such, you should not place undue reliance on this information. This information may not be indicative of the actual results for the current period or any future period.
This earnings release contains “forward-looking statements”, as the phrase is defined in Section 27A of the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the U.S. Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. These forward-looking statements may be identified by words such as “may,” “might,” “will,” “could,” “would,” “should,” “expect,” “plan,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “seek,” “believe,” “estimate,” “predict,” “potential,” “continue,” “contemplate,” “possible” and other similar words. Forward-looking statements include statements relating to, among other things, VEON’s plans to implement its strategic priorities, including operating model and development plans; anticipated performance, including VEON’s ability to generate sufficient cash flow; VEON’s assessment of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its current and future operations and financial condition; VEON’s assessment of the impact of the conflict surrounding Russia and Ukraine, including related sanctions and counter-sanctions, on its current and future operations and financial condition; future market developments and trends; operational and network development and network investment, including expectations regarding the roll-out and benefits of 3G/4G/LTE networks, as applicable; spectrum acquisitions and renewals; the effect of the acquisition of additional spectrum on customer experience; VEON’s ability to realize the acquisition and disposition of any of its businesses and assets and to execute its strategic transactions in the timeframes anticipated, or at all; VEON’s ability to realize financial improvements, including an expected reduction of net pro-forma leverage ratio following the successful completion of certain dispositions and acquisitions; our dividends; completion of VEON’s sale of its Russian operations; and VEON’s ability to realize its targets and commercial initiatives in its various countries of operation.
The forward-looking statements included in this earnings release are based on management’s best assessment of VEON’s strategic and financial position and of future market conditions, trends and other potential developments. These discussions involve risks and uncertainties. The actual outcome may differ materially from these statements as a result of, among other things: further escalation in the conflict surrounding Russia and Ukraine, including further sanctions and counter-sanctions and any related involuntary deconsolidation of our Russian and/or Ukrainian operations; further unanticipated developments related to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as the effect on consumer spending, that has negatively affected VEON’s operations and financial condition in the past; demand for and market acceptance of VEON’s products and services; our plans regarding our dividend payments and policies, as well as our ability to receive dividends, distributions, loans, transfers or other payments or guarantees from our subsidiaries; continued volatility in the economies in VEON’s markets; governmental regulation of the telecommunications industries; general political uncertainties in VEON’s markets; government investigations or other regulatory actions; litigation or disputes with third parties or regulatory authorities or other negative developments regarding such parties; the impact of export controls and laws affecting trade and investment on our and important third-party suppliers' ability to procure goods, software or technology necessary for the services we provide to our customers; risks associated with data protection or cyber security, other risks beyond the parties’ control or a failure to meet expectations regarding various strategic priorities, the effect of foreign currency fluctuations, increased competition in the markets in which VEON operates and the effect of consumer taxes on the purchasing activities of consumers of VEON’s services.
Certain other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those discussed in any forward-looking statements include the risk factors described in VEON’s Annual Report on Form 20-F for the year ended 31 December 2021 filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) on 29 April 2022 and other public filings made from time to time by VEON with the SEC. Other unknown or unpredictable factors also could harm our future results. New risk factors and uncertainties emerge from time to time and it is not possible for our management to predict all risk factors and uncertainties, nor can we assess the impact of all factors on our business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements. Under no circumstances should the inclusion of such forward-looking statements in this press release be regarded as a representation or warranty by us or any other person with respect to the achievement of results set out in such statements or that the underlying assumptions used will in fact be the case. Therefore, you are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements speak only as of the date hereof. We cannot assure you that any projected results or events will be achieved. Except to the extent required by law, we disclaim any obligation to update or revise any of these forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, after the date on which the statements are made, or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.
The sale of VEON’s Russian operations is subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of requisite regulatory approvals and licenses from relevant government authorities. There can be no assurance that the requisite approvals will be received or that such sale will complete.
Furthermore, elements of this release contain or may contain, “inside information” as defined under the Market Abuse Regulation (EU) No. 596/2014.