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Veon Q2 revenue rises on subscriber growth

VEON Ltd. announces its results for the second quarter and half year ended 30 June 2022:

In 2Q22, VEON recorded USD 2,008 million in total revenues, representing +5.6% YoY growth in reported currency (+6.0% YoY in local currency). EBITDA was USD 913 million, increasing by +13.0% YoY in reported currency (+14.1% YoY in local currency). Capex of USD 382 million was 21.5% lower than in 2Q21, with a 3.5 p.p. decrease in capex intensity (21.5%). Total cash and cash equivalents were USD 2.3 billion, with USD 1.9 billion at the HQ level.

Commenting on results, Kaan Terzioğlu said:
“Our second quarter results demonstrate the resilience and the success of VEON Group companies, as our 4G focus and digital operator strategy continued to deliver growth despite unprecedented geopolitical challenges. This quarter, our 4G users reached 50% of our customer base, moving closer to our target of 70% 4G penetration. More subscribers, higher 4G penetration and more digital services together with inflationary pricing and good cost management are driving solid revenue and EBITDA performance across our countries.

We continue to focus on our core priorities of protecting our people and delivering the essential humanitarian services of communication and connectivity. Our liquidity position is strong, with USD 2.3 billion in cash at the end of 2Q22, of which USD 1.9 billion was held at HQ level. “

2Q 2022 highlights:

  • Revenue of USD 2,008 million, +5.6% YoY (+6.0% YoY in local currency)
  • Service revenue of 1,889 million, +7.1% YoY (+7.5% YoY in local currency)
  • EBITDA of USD 913 million, +13.0% YoY (+14.1% YoY in local currency)
  • Capex of USD 382 million, -21.5% YoY
  • Net income of USD 183 million, +43.5% YoY
  • Total cash and cash equivalents of USD 2.3 billion, with USD 1.9 billion at Headquarters
  • 204 million mobile subscribers, up 2.7% YoY
  • 102 million 4G users, up 19.2% YoY, with 50.0% penetration of customer base

For 2Q22, VEON reported growth in both reported and local currency revenue and EBITDA, with a 3 p.p. increase in EBITDA margin and Group cash and cash equivalents balance of USD 2.3 billion as of 30 June 2022.

Group revenues increased by 5.6% YoY in reported currency terms (+6.0% in local currency). Growth in mobile data revenue, up 11.6% in reported currency terms (+15.5% in local currency), was a key driver of the strong Group revenue performance. Non telecom related revenues in Russia, constituted 8.0% of total Group reported revenue.

We delivered balanced growth in the quarter as we expanded our customer base while increasing ARPU. We also continued to implement our policy of inflationary pricing to respond to higher inflation, which was observed across most of our markets, impacted in particular by both the availability and cost of utilities.

In Ukraine, Kyivstar’s revenues decreased 2.0% YoY in reported currency (+3.9% in local currency) as the team continued to deliver on keeping the country connected, with our radio network operating at 90% availability. Kyivstar’s 4G customer base grew 11.9% YoY, and our customers consumed more data, with a growth in usage of 26.9% YoY.

Russia reported a 2Q22 revenues increase of 12.2% YoY in reported currency (-0.8% YoY in local currency). The strengthening of the Russian ruble against USD in 2Q22 supported the growth in reported financial performance. 2Q22 mobile service revenue was up 2.7% YoY in local currency, as demand for data was 20.9% higher YoY, driving mobile data revenue growth of 6.2% YoY in local currency.

Pakistan revenues decreased 12.1% YoY in reported currency (+11.1% YoY in local 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 reduction in mobile termination rates. Excluding the impact of the SIM tax reversal last year, revenue in Pakistan grew 13.7% YoY in local currency. The weakness in the Pakistani rupee negatively impacted reported growth rates.

In Kazakhstan, revenues increased 16.3% YoY in reported currency (+20.2% in local currency), another quarter of strong growth as Beeline Kazakhstan continues to execute its digital operator strategy. This was the fifth consecutive quarter of local-currency revenue growth above 20%.

In Uzbekistan, revenues increased 18.7% YoY in reported currency (+25.2% in local currency), a second consecutive quarter of local-currency revenue growth above 20%, supported by new digital operator offerings introduced in the previous quarter.

Group EBITDA grew by 13.0% YoY in 2Q22 in reported currency terms (+14.1% in local currency). In Russia, EBITDA increased 26.7% YoY in reported currency (+11.6% in local currency), marking the fifth consecutive quarter of growth. EBITDA in Pakistan declined 5.4% YoY in reported currency (+19.8% YoY in local currency) and in Kazakhstan, EBITDA grew 23.0% in reported currency terms (+26.9% in local currency). In Ukraine, EBITDA was down 10.2% in reported currency (-4.8% YoY in local currency) in 2Q22.

Group EBITDA was impacted by a number of extraordinary non-recurring items in 2Q22 and in 2Q21 as noted in the Country Performance section. Excluding all these extraordinary one-off items, Group EBITDA increased 10.7% YoY in local currency.

Group EBITDA margin increased by 3.0 percentage points YoY and reached 45.4% in 2Q22 as we remain focused on implementing planned cost-efficiency measures across the business.

In 2Q22, we reported healthy growth of 2.7% YoY in our subscriber base. The Group continued to focus on the overall customer experience in our 4G networks. This supported the 19.2% YoY increase in our 4G users, which reached 101.9 million, adding 16.4 million users over the previous 12 months. 4G subscribers now account for 50.0% of our total subscriber base, up 6.9 p.p. from a year ago.

On the back of our growing 4G penetration, we have been able to expand our digital operator offerings in our operations. This has driven the growth of our multiplay customer base (+25.0% YoY) which reached 30.7 million during 2Q22, with ARPU 4 times higher and having 3 times lower churn than single play voice-only customers.

Our financial services business in Pakistan, JazzCash, ended the quarter with 16.2 million MAUs, a rise of 36.8% YoY. In Bangladesh, our streaming business, Toffee, reached 6.8 million MAUs (+36.8% YoY) in 2Q22.

Group capex was USD 382 million, with capex intensity of 21.5%, driven in particular by increased network investments in Bangladesh and Uzbekistan, in line with our growth strategy.

We closed the quarter with total cash of USD 2.3 billion, including USD 1.9 billion at the HQ level. All our operations are primarily self-funding without any funding requirement from the HQ.

Key recent developments:

  • Liquidity update. On 25 May 2022, VEON announced that its total cash and cash equivalents had increased to approximately USD 2.4 billion (USD 2.3 billion as of 30 June 2022), including the equivalent of USD 1.8 billion (USD 1.9 billion as of 30 June 2022) USD- and EUR-denominated cash and cash equivalents held by its headquarters in Amsterdam.
    Algeria put option. On 28 June 2022, VEON signed the deal and definitive documents related to the execution of its Algeria put option. The final closing of the transaction will be on receipt of the cash settlement, USD 682 million, by VEON.
  • Sale of Georgian operations. On 8 June 2022, VEON announced that it had completed the sale of VEON Georgia LLC, VEON’s operating subsidiary in Georgia, to VEON’s former local partner. The sale of our Georgian operations is in line with VEON’s long-held ambition to simplify the Group’s structure. The transaction value of USD 45 million is equal to a 2021 EBITDA multiple (pre–IFRS 16) of 3.5x.
  • VEON makes USD 15 million investment in Dastgyr. On 14 June 2022, VEON announced that the Group’s VEON Ventures division had completed a USD 15 million investment as part of the USD 37 million Series A round for Dastgyr (acquisition of 14.96% stake), a Pakistan-based B2B e-commerce marketplace platform. This investment is the largest ever Series A round in Pakistan and will contribute to boosting Pakistan’s e-commerce market while also creating potential synergies with our JazzCash financial services platform.
  • VEON shareholders elect new board members. On 29 June 2022, VEON announced the results of the elections conducted at its Annual General Meeting. Shareholders elected three new members to the Company’s Board of Directors: Augie Fabela, Morten Lundal and Stan Miller. Shareholders also re-elected eight directors: Hans-Holger Albrecht, Yaroslav Glazunov, Andrei Gusev, Gunnar Holt, Karen Linehan, Irene Shvakman, Vasily Sidorov and Michiel Soeting. On 4 July 2022, the Company’s Board of Directors appointed Gunnar Holt as the new Chairman of the Board.
  • VEON management increases ownership. On 11 July 2022, VEON announced the completion of management share transfers as part of the Group’s incentive program announced in February 2022. The shares were awarded as part of VEON’s Deferred Share Plan. This award represents a further step in aligning the executive team’s remuneration with the successful implementation of our digital operator strategy and long-term value creation for our shareholders. Following this transaction, Kaan Terzioglu holds 1,674,900; Serkan Okandan, 222,172; Michael Schulz, 145,715; Joop Brakenhoff, 92,572; and Alex Bolis, 64,286 ADR/ORDs.
  • VEON’S Banglalink signs tower sharing agreement in Bangladesh. On 03 August 2022, VEON announced that its subsidiary Banglalink has reached an agreement with Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Limited (BTCL) for a tower sharing initiative. Under the agreement, BTCL will share its tower infrastructures with Banglalink. The initiative will enhance Banglalink’s quality of services further by supporting its 4G expansion drive, ensuring energy-efficient operations and optimizing the use of Bangladesh’s national resources.

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