VEON Reports 4Q & FY 2021 Results

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VEON
VEON Reports 4Q & FY 2021 Results

VEON Ltd. (VEON) announces results for the fourth quarter and full year ended 31 December 2021:

VEON reports FY 2021 results with full-year revenue of USD 7,788 million +10.1% YoY in local currency (+6.8% YoY reported currency) and EBITDA of USD 3,332 million +8.9% YoY in local currency (+5.7% YoY reported currency). Full-year capex of USD 1,826 million was in line with 2020, with lower capex intensity (23.4%) as revenues expanded. Group Net Debt/EBITDA was 2.44x.

Kaan Terzioğlu commented on 4Q & FY 2021 results:

“I am encouraged by the progress we made this past year in a number of important growth areas such as our digital operator metrics including 4G subscribers, penetration of digital services, data revenues as well as achieving balanced growth across all our geographies, including Russia.“

FY 2021 results highlights:

    • Revenue USD 7,788 million, +10.1% YoY in local currency (+6.8% YoY reported currency)
    • EBITDA USD 3,332 million, +8.9% YoY in local currency (+5.7% YoY reported currency)
    • Net income of USD 801 million
    • Capex of USD 1,826 million, +1.8% YoY, capex intensity of 23.4%
    • Equity Free Cash Flow (after licenses) USD 334 million, up 41.9% YoY
    • Total cash USD 2.3 billion (additional undrawn committed credit lines of USD 1.5 billion)

Beeline Russia closed 2021 strongly, showing healthy growth following increased 4G investment and we believe is now well positioned to deliver further improvement in revenue and EBITDA. In 4Q21, service revenue accelerated with growth of 6.6% YoY (local currency) and Beeline Russia reported 49.4 million mobile subscribers and 25.5 million 4G subscribers (+12.8% YoY).

Good financial discipline saw Group EBITDA in 4Q21 increase by 9.5% YoY in local currency and 10.6% YoY in reported currency. This solid result was driven by double digit local currency EBITDA performance across five countries with Russia posting a strong quarter with YoY EBITDA growth of 4.3% in local currency. While EBITDA grew YoY in absolute terms, a slight margin dilution of 0.4 p.p. was reported, as handset sales grew. Over the next three years, project Optimum is expected to deliver cumulative margin expansion of approximately 300 basis points.

Strong 2021 full year equity free cash flow (after licenses) of USD 334 million up 41.9% YoY. We reported Group net debt of USD 8.1 billion (of which lease liabilities were USD 2.7 billion) at the end of 4Q21 and closed the year with total cash and undrawn committed credit lines of USD 3.7 billion.

At the end of 4Q21 our net debt/EBITDA ratio was 2.44x.  While within our comfort zone, this ratio is above the limit of 2.4x set by our dividend policy. Moving forward we aim to further deleverage the company and build sustainable dividend capacity for the future. Given current circumstances we are not providing specific guidance for 2022.

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We successfully closed the Russia tower transaction, with the sale of our Russian tower assets to Service-Telecom for RUB 70.65 bn. We have established separate tower companies in both Ukraine and Pakistan and we expect to announce further tower transactions in the coming year.

Strong progress on expanding our digital assets.  JazzCash closed the quarter with 15.2 million monthly active users (+24.9% YoY), Toffee TV in Bangladesh with 6.4 million monthly active users, up from 2.5 million a year ago; and Beeline TV in Russia with 3.1 million monthly active users (+11.8% YoY).

We further strengthened the management team with the appointment of Victor Biryukov as VEON Group General Counsel and Mohammad Khairil Abdullah as CEO for VEON Ventures who will both be members of the Group Executive Committee. Andrey Pyatakhin was appointed as CEO for Beeline Kyrgyzstan.

With the appointment of Karen Linehan to the VEON Group board on 5th January 2022 as a non-executive director we expanded board diversity while bringing a wealth of experience and a valuable perspective to our Audit & Risk and Nominating & Corporate Governance Committees.

VEON announced its intention to move its group parent company to the United Kingdom. The change of the place of incorporation of the top holding company, would place the company in a jurisdiction with high standards of corporate governance and a strong and transparent legal framework and is expected to enable VEON and its operating subsidiaries to operate more effectively across its markets.

Key recent developments:

    • On 1 December 2021, VEON announced the successful conclusion of the sale of its Russian tower assets to Service-Telecom for RUB 70.65 billion.
    • On 18 December 2021, VEON announced the appointment of Andrey Pyatakhin as CEO of Beeline Kyrgyzstan.
    • On 18 December 2021, VEON announced the appointment of Victor Biryukov as VEON Group General Counsel.
    • On 24 December 2021, VEON announced the successful conclusion of two bilateral loan facilities of RUB 45 billion each with Sberbank and Alfa Bank.
    • On 29 December 2021, VEON announced the appointment of Mohammad Khairil Abdullah as CEO of VEON Ventures, effective 1 March 2022.
    • On 5 January 2022, VEON announced the appointment of Karen Linehan to the VEON Group board as a non-executive director.
    • On 3 February 2022, VEON announced its intention to establish new parent holding company in the UK.
    • In 4Q21, Kaan Terzioglu, our Group Chief Executive Officer and Erik Aas, the Chief Executive Officer of Banglalink, each purchased 200,000, and 50,000 of our ADR/ORDs, respectively.
    • On 17 February 2022, VEON announced the successful conclusion of a seven years term facility of RUB 30 billion with VTB.