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Spain’s Cellnex nine-month net loss narrows, advances free cash flow goal

Spain’s Cellnex on Friday said its nine-month net loss narrowed to 198 million euros ($211.4 million) as a result of its expansion process, while it cut debt and said it expected to achieve positive free cash flow this year rather than next.

Europe’s largest mobile phone tower operator had lost 255 million euros in the same period of 2022.

Cellnex’s expanding European network boosted revenue by 17% to 3 billion euros, while adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 16% to 2.2 billion euros.

“This period has been characterised by good commercial performance and solid operational execution,” said Cellnex’s chief executive Marco Patuano in a statement.

Cellnex, which has switched focus from expanding through acquisitions to reducing debt, reiterated its goal of obtaining a credit rating upgrade in 2024.

The company is accelerating the divestment of some assets to reduce debt and is also evaluating the possibility of monetising other assets in an effort to achieve the higher credit rating as soon as possible.

The Barcelona-based company said it now expects to end the year with positive free cash flow of between 100 million and 150 million euros, a target originally set for 2024, largely thanks to equipment sales in France.

Net financial debt fell by 300 million euros from last June to 17.6 billion euros. Cellnex said it has access to immediate liquidity worth 4.6 billion euros.

Earlier on Friday, the company announced an agreement with Boldyn Networks to sell its private network unit for an undisclosed sum, expecting the deal to close in the first quarter of next year.

It has already sold a 49% stake in its Swedish and Danish units to infrastructure investor Stonepeak in September for 730 million euros.

Cellnex shares had reversed an earlier 2.2% fall by early afternoon in Madrid, to stand little changed on the day. Reuters

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