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Telefónica’s Net Profits Up By 17%, Widely Surpassing Its Debt Reduction Objective

The Chairman of Telefónica (NYSE:TEF) (LSE:TDE), César Alierta, said the Company will accelerate its transformation in 2014: “ Among our targets, we will continue accelerating revenue growth and, at the same time, we will increase investments to anticipate to the growing demand from the increasingly intensive data service usage, as well as the recovery of demand expected in some of our main markets”.

Telefónica announces its its guidance and shareholder remuneration policy for 2014 and reiterates its commitment to pay shareholders, with the distribution in 2014 of a dividend of 0.75 euros per share to be paid in the fourth quarter 2014 (0.35 euros per share by means of scrip dividend) and in the second quarter 2015 (0.40 euros per share in cash).

Guidance criteria 2014 organic and excluding Venezuela (*) see page 6

Guidance 2013   2013   Guidance 2014 (organic & excluding Venezuela)
Revenue growth (>0%)   0.7%   Positive revenue growth
Lower OIBDA margin decline than in 2012 (-1.4 p.p.)   (-0.2 p.p.)   OIBDA margin towards stabilisation with erosion of around 1 p.p. y-o-y to allow for commercial flexibility if needed
Similar CapEx (ex-spectrum)/Sales as in 2012 (14.1%)   14.5%   CapEx/Sales: 15.5%-16%
   
       

Guidance 2014 (reported)

Net debt < €47 Bn

 

€45.4Bn

 

Lower than €43Bn

CapEx increase announced by the Company is oriented to stimulate growth, to network differentiation and to improve market positioning, among other reasons. The Company also reiterates mid-term commitment 2.35x Net financial debt/OIBDA.

  • In 2013 Telefónica consolidated its high cash generation capacity, closing the year with a free cash flow of 5,391 billion euros (€1.19/share), which widely covers the dividend promised for 2013 (€0.75/share).
  • The net debt at the end of 2013 was 45,381 million euros, comfortably meeting the objective of closing the year with a debt lower than 47,000 million. Taking into account asset portfolio management operations not included at the end of December, the net financial debt is reduced to 42,325 million euros, equivalent to a debt ratio of 2.31 times OIBDA.
  • As anticipated back in September, the consolidated earnings increased again (+0.7% organic, +1.8% in the fourth quarter) to a figure of 57,061 million euros. The OIBDA, meanwhile, remained stable compared to 2012 at a figure of 19,077 million euros at the year end, after a return to growth in the fourth quarter (+1.2% in organic terms vs. –0.3% in the third quarter and –0.7% in the second). With this, the evolution of the OIBDA margin was also practically stable (33.4%, -0.2 p.p. organic) in line with forecasts.
  • Telefónica Latin America and the mobile data business, with year-on-year increases close to double figures (+9.6% and +9.3%, respectively), continued to be the principal motors of growth in the Group’s earnings.
  • To guarantee future growth, the Telefónica Group invested 9,395 million euros in the last year, including 1,224 billion euros for purchase of spectrum in a number of countries. In organic terms, investments rose 3.8% year-on-year (-0.7% reported) with nearly 68% of total investments devoted to business transformation and growth.
  • In operating terms, the growth of mobiles on contract (+9%) and pay television accesses (+8%) gave a stimulus to Telefónica’s client base, which closed 2013 with 323.1 million accesses (+2%). Particularly worthy of note is the behaviour of mobile broadband accesses, which rose by +38% and now account for 29% of the total of mobile accesses, while pay television accesses brought about a 10-fold increase in the earnings obtained in 2012.
  • 2013 consolidated “Movistar Fusión” and operating transformation as levers for recovery of the business in Spain. At the end of the year, it became clear the consumption recovery, reflected in a record net adds of customers choosing quality services such as fibre or pay TV. That is, the fourth quarter evidently shows the success of differentiation in the convergent offer made by Telefónica España, with record net gains of some 100,000 fibre clients and a return to net positive gains in pay television.
  • Brazil strengthened its competitive positioning both in the mobile business, reinforcing its leadership in high value segments, and in the fixed business, thanks to the new commercial proposition and the rollout of fibre. It means registering positive net additions across the fived board and that contract segment reached again record net additions in the fourth quarter, with 1.6 million accesses.

Telefónica today presented its results for the end of year 2013, a year in which the Group’s net profit rose by 16.9%, to a figure of 4,593 million euros, at the same time as it kept its focus on improving financial flexibility and strengthening the balance sheet, through proactive management of its portfolio of assets and solid cash flow generation. This translated into a reduction in the net financial debt of 5,878 million euros in 2013, which places this item significantly below the objective set for the year (€45,381 million vs. <€47,000 million), and a reduction of almost 16.000 million euros in 18 months.

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