VimpelCom Ltd. (VIP) Q1 2012 Earnings Call May 15, 2012 08:00 am ET Executives Alexandra Tramont – Vice President, Investor Relations Jo O. Lunder – Chief Executive Officer Henk van Dalen – Chief Financial Officer Analysts Cesar Tiron – Morgan Stanley & Co. Alexander Kazbegi – Renaissance Capital Dalibor Vavruska – ING JP Davids – Barclays Capital Dalibor Vavruska – Citigroup Alexander Balakhnin – Goldman Sachs Herve Drouet – HSBC Investment Bank Plc Igor Semenov – Deutsche Bank Victor Klimovich – VTB Capital Presentation Operator
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Certain factors may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements, including the risks detailed in one, the company’s earnings release announcing first quarter 2012 financial and operating results and the related presentations, two, the company’s Annual Report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2011, and three, other public filings made by the company with the SEC, each of which are posted on the company’s website at www.vimpelcom.com and on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov.If you have not received a copy of the first quarter 2012 financial and operating results release, please contact investor relations at +31207977234 and it will be forwarded to you. In addition, the press release and the earnings presentation, each of which includes reconciliations of non-GAAP financial measures presented on this conference call can be downloaded from the company’s website. At this time, I would like to turn the call over to Jo Lunder, Chief Executive Officer of VimpelCom. Jo, please go ahead. Jo O. Lunder Thank you. Good afternoon to those in Europe and good morning to our guests from the United States and welcome to our first quarter earnings presentation. Let me start by introducing the members of the team sitting with me here in Amsterdam. We have Henk van Dalen, our Chief Financial Officer, who will be covering the financials in detail later on the call and Gerbrand Nijman, our Head of Investor Relations. Let me start with the highlights for the quarter. We are pleased with the progress we’re making. The group performance led to almost 6% organic growth in revenues year-over-year, reaching $5.6 billion. If we exclude forex impact, EBITDA increased 5% compared to the same period last year, leading to a margin of 31%. We’re pleased with a positive trend shift in EBITDA growth in Russia, which rose 9% organically. Revenue and EBITDA also showed strong growth in Asia and Africa led by impressive performance in Pakistan. We achieved strong subscriber growth in the first quarter with an increase of 12% reaching 209 million mobile subscribers.
Our Asia and Africa business units witnessed strong subscriber growth of 19% exceeding the 86 million mark. Net income for the quarter reached $318 million. VimpelCom has not only delivered good revenue and EBITDA growth, but we have also delivered a solid cash flow generation with net cash from operating activities of $1.6 billion.The cash flow targets combined with profitable growth are fundamental KPIs for our company on which we’re measuring our performance and again I am satisfied with the progress and the results we’re delivering in the first quarter. Moving on to the strategic effect and some main recent events, as you all know our Orascom Telecom holding has submitted a formal notice or arbitration against the Government of Algeria. However, regardless of this notice, we would like to reiterate that we remain open and in discussions with the Algerian Government to finding a mutually beneficial resolution to the solution in Algeria. Recently, we also refinanced the significant part to our debt maturing in 2012 with the issuing of bonds in March and in April in Russia and Italy. In the late April, VimpelCom announced the sale of its controlling interest in GTEL Mobile in Vietnam. This action reflects the company’s ongoing strategic portfolio analysis which is a core component of VimpelCom’s value agenda. The portfolio review is aimed at focusing on allocating capital to those markets were the company seize the best opportunities to generate shareholder value. Also in April, the Russian Antimonopoly Service named VimpelCom as a third-party in its claim to validate Telenor’s February purchase of 234 million VimpelCom preferred shares from Weather II. In late April, a Russian court issued an injunction that prohibit VimpelCom from exercising certain specific shareholder rights in OJSC VimpelCom during the [tendency] of this case. However, the injunction does not prohibit VimpelCom from exercising its shareholder rights to approve dividend payments and to reelect the current OJSC Board members.
The first hearing on the merits of the fast claim is scheduled for October 17, 2012. And as previously announced, we plan to pay the final dividend for 2011 of [$0.35] per share before the end of June. And finally, we have appointed Maximo Ibarra, our CEO for our Italian business. Maximo has a strong track record in running the consumer business unit, the Wind, and broad experienced in both the telecom sector and in other industries. I’m confident that Wind Italy will continue its successful track record of performance under his leadership.Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com