TPG Telecom slashes dividend to fund mobile rollout

Underlying EBITDA was $835 million, up 8 percent from $775.3 million previous year.

That placed the group ahead of the half-million premises iTnews estimated it could end up with last month.

The group’s consumer segment revenue was $1.74 billion, stemming from $1.37 billion in broadband sales, $165 million in fixed voice sales, $118 million in mobile sales and $80.5 million in other sales.

The telco said today that its own-brand NBN subscribers grew to 262,000 at the end of July, while iiNet’s base came in at 299,000.

Whilst its performance wasn’t as strong as the Consumer segment, I felt the Corporate segment put in a solid performance this year.

The corporate segment brought in revenue of $743 million for FY17, up 2 percent from FY16’s $726 million.

TPG Telecom’s capital expenditure was $576.3 million for the year. This led to its bank debt reducing to $900 million, which represents a debt to EBITDA leverage ratio of just under 1.1x.

Executive chairman David Teoh said shareholders would benefit in the long term from what he called a prudent decision.

The junior telco, which has is investing heavily in its mobile networks in Australia and Singapore as it seeks to offset declining revenue from its broadband division as the NBN rollout continues, has also slashed its final dividend from 7.5¢ in the 2016 financial year to 2¢, citing the need to retain a “greater proportion of profits” to spend on its mobile rolllouts. This takes its total FY 2017 dividends to 10 cents per share fully franked.

TPG Telecom, which won the race to become Singapore’s fourth telco, said on Tuesday (Sep 19) it is “on track” to achieve nationwide outdoor mobile service coverage by December 2018.

“In Australia, where the initial network implementation is concentrated on the country’s most densely populated areas, the group has already entered into agreements with multiple partners to gain access to a large volume of sites to provide coverage of major metropolitan areas”.

The first part of the Australian network, consisting of a “initial site clusters” in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra in the middle of 2018.

The market had been anxious about lower margins on the due NBN business. Vocus did not declare a final dividend for fiscal 2017 and said it did not expect to pay dividends in fiscal 2018, while Telstra said it would cut its dividend by 30 percent this financial year.

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