The churn rate increased in the fourth quarter of 2012 to 10.9% from 10.4% in the third quarter, reflecting an increase in the churn of Pre-Paid subscribers, which was partially offset by a decrease in the churn of Post-Paid subscribers.
ARPU totaled NIS 87 in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared with NIS 97 in the previous quarter. The decrease was partially explained by the seasonal decline, mainly in roaming revenues, and by the continued price erosion and transition of customers to unlimited packages.
Equipment revenues in the fourth quarter of 2012 increased to NIS 222 million compared with NIS 165 million in the previous quarter, mainly reflecting the impact of the launched of the iPhone 5 in December 2012 .
As a result of the above effects, the EBITDA for the fourth quarter of 2012 amounted to NIS 340 million compared to NIS 401 million in the previous quarter.The Company’s investments in fixed assets totaled NIS 123 million in the fourth quarter of 2012 and total annual investments for 2012 were NIS 500 million, or 9% of annual revenues. At the same time, the Company continued to report strong free cash flow (after interest payments), which totaled NIS 255 million this quarter. Over 2012, the Company generated free cash flow after interest payments in the amount of NIS 1,034 million. The cash flow was positively affected by a decrease in working capital, following lower equipment sales over the course of the year and an increase in the proportion of equipment sales by credit card and cash. This trend is expected to have positively impact on the free cash flow in the coming quarters. In light of its strong free cash flow, the Company made an early repayment of bank loans during the fourth quarter of 2012 in the amount of NIS 300 million. In 2013, therefore, only repayments of bonds are currently required, in an amount of approximately NIS 300 million. The level of net debt was NIS 3,812 million at year-end 2012 compared to NIS 4,639 million at the end of the previous year.