NUEVO GRUPO IUSACELL REPORTS RECORD
THIRD QUARTER RESULTS
October 18, 1999
- Record EBITDA margin of 36%; EBITDA up 50% over third
- Record 181,000 net adds
- 163,000 digital contract subscribers
- More than 1.1 million cellular subscribers, 80% over third
- Digital CDMA network and Single Billing Cellular System
Mexico City -- Nuevo Grupo Iusacell, S.A. de
C.V. [BMV: IUSACELL, NYSE: CEL], today announced record
operating cash flow for the third quarter of 1999. Earnings before
interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) were $374
million, versus $249 million in the third quarter last year.
The Company's record performance came as a result of strong
operating results, including revenues of $1.052 billion, driven by
growth in digital contract subscribers and average revenue per user
(ARPU). Iusacell ended the quarter with more than 1.1 million
cellular customers and recorded its fourth consecutive quarter of
positive net income.
As a result of continued revenue growth, productivity improvements
and cost containment, EBITDA grew 50% over third quarter 1998.
EBITDA margin increased to a record 36% in third quarter 1999,
versus 30% in third quarter 1998
Iusacell has implemented its digital network on all its cell sites,
which resulted in a 53% increase in depreciation costs when
compared with third quarter 1998. The Company posted an
operating profit of $3 million, despite the higher depreciation charge
"We've already begun translating recent successes like our
single cellular billing platform and our digital coverage over 100%
of our cell sites into significant competitive advantages. Iusacell's
new single rate plan is a great example of how we used that
advantage to quickly and responsively meet the needs of a specific
Mexican market segment," said Tom Bartlett, CEO of Iusacell
and President and CEO of Bell Atlantic International Wireless.
In the third quarter of 1999, compared to the same quarter last
year, total revenues were up 25% and the cellular subscriber base
grew 80%. Service revenues increased 28% for the same period.
"Iusacell will continue to focus on high quality, high value
products, services and customer care. Our digital network and
state-of-the-art systems are now well positioned to support the
continued rapid growth of our digital subscriber base," stated
Fulvio Del Valle, President and Director General of Iusacell.
The Company has a base of 163,000 digital contract customers, an
increase of 58% in the past three months. This digital growth
includes the accelerated migration of analog contract subscribers in
the third quarter. To enhance its Nuevo MilenioTM digital packages
and further penetrate the contract market, the Company launched
its "one single rate" plan for local, national long distance
and international long distance to the United States and Canada
and roaming calls on September 26th. The new product should
generate added long distance and roaming traffic. Based on the
positive consumer response, the one single rate plan has been
extended to the Company's prepaid customer base. Iusacell
expects the balance of the year to show strong contract subscriber
growth in all of its operating regions.
The Company's decision to extend the life of its VIVATM prepay
card by 185 days has resulted in the retention, in the last two
quarters, of approximately 130,000 subscribers as "incoming
calls only" customers who otherwise would have been
deactivated. This strategy has resulted in additional revenue for the
quarter. The Company will retain these "incoming calls
only" customers as long as they continue to contribute to
The six-month trial pricing for Calling Party Pays (CPP) will end in
October 1999. In the first five months since CPP was launched,
Iusacell has experienced at least 8% increase in traffic due to CPP,
with a considerable increase in the percentage of incoming calls
and cellular to cellular calls. The Company expects to see
continued growth of incoming and cellular to cellular traffic
The Company continues to improve accessibility to all our products
while especially facilitating replenishment of our prepaid products,
expand its distribution network in the last 12 months by 111% to
more than 5,800 points of sale (POS). There are now 1,112 full
service outlets (96 directly owned) and an additional 4,739 points of
sale for prepay cards. This expanded distribution, together with the
features of the VIVATM prepay platform, has helped drive the strong
growth in prepay subscribers since third quarter 1998.
Third quarter 1999 contract minutes of use (MOUs) and contract
ARPUs increased 6% and 15%, respectively, compared with third
quarter 1998. This improvement was primarily driven by growth in
digital subscribers, value-added services and the impact of calling
party pays. Excluding the incoming-only customers, further
penetration of the prepaid market resulted in a 9% decrease in
blended MOUs but a 1% increase in ARPUs, when comparing third
quarter 1999 over the same period in the previous year.
Cash operating expenses per subscriber decreased to $737 in the
third quarter, a 32% reduction from the $1,085 recorded in third
quarter last year. Contract subscriber acquisition cost increased
from US$354 in the third quarter 1998 to US$386 in the third
quarter 1999 as the Company's strategy for accelerating digital
customer base growth increased the need for higher-cost digital
Third quarter 1999 net income was $103 million, mainly reflecting
integral financing gains. This compares with a net loss of $1.5
billion in third quarter 1998.
Capital Expenditures. Iusacell's capital expenditures were US$25
million during third quarter 1999, primarily used to accelerate the
deployment of digital infrastructure and the continued expansion of
Iusacell's long distance fiber optic network. All cell sites in Regions
5, 6, 7 and 9 now provide digital coverage.
Liquidity. During the third quarter, the Company funded its
operations, capital expenditures, handset purchases and interest
payments through internally generated cash flow, proceeds totaling
US$34 million from the primary equity and rights offerings and
vendor handset financing.
Debt. Debt, including Interest-bearing trade notes payable, as of
September 30, 1999 totaled US$472 million, representing a US$33
million increase from third quarter 1998. This additional debt was
used primarily to finance deployment of the Company's 100%
digital network. All of the debt is U.S. dollar-denominated, with
maturities averaging 3.0 years. Iusacell's debt-to-capital ratio was
45.6% at the end of the quarter, versus 60.4% at September 30,
Other Business Developments
Restructuring and Recapitalization Plan. In the third quarter,
Iusacell completed its share exchange and rights offers. 99.9%
and 95.5% of outstanding Series "D" and "L"
shares, respectively, were exchanged. The rights offer received an
82.1% subscription rate, which resulted in gross proceeds to New
Iusacell of US$12.9 million. At the expiration of the exchange and
rights offers, New Iusacell successfully completed a primary and
secondary share offering for a combined 125 million shares (12.5
million American Depositary Shares). As a result of these offers,
Iusacell's public float increased by 14.7 million ADRs or 128%.
Year 2000 Compliance. All required modifications or replacements
of mission critical systems and internal network elements had been
implemented by the end of the third quarter of 1999. All required
modifications or replacements are scheduled to be completed by
the end of October 1999. US$17 million have already been spent
or committed to complete the Year 2000 compliance program.
The Company's Year 2000 compliance program is, in large part,
dependent on third party vendors and interconnecting carriers. The
Company can not assure that all significant third parties will
implement timely corrective measures necessary on their part to
prevent disruption of service or to ensure correct billing and
payments. In that event, the Company will, in most cases, be able
to implement contingency plans to minimize or eliminate potential
billing and service disruption.
Nuevo Grupo Iusacell, S.A. de C.V. (New Iusacell) was organized
as a limited liability stock company under the laws of Mexico on
August 6, 1998. As a result of the exchange offer completed in
August 1999, New Iusacell holds substantially all of the capital
stock of Grupo Iusacell, S.A. de C.V. (Old Iusacell).
Grupo Iusacell, S.A. de C.V. (NYSE: CEL.Y; BMV: IUSACEL) (Old
Iusacell) is a leading independent telecommunications company in
Mexico. It provides wireless cellular service in four of Mexico's nine
regions in the central portion of Mexico (including Mexico City)
covering a total of 67 million POPs, representing approximately
69% of the country's total population.
New Iusacell and Old Iusacell have been under the management
and operating control of subsidiaries of Bell Atlantic Corporation.
Note: This press release contains statements about expected
future events and financial results that are forward-looking and
subject to risks and uncertainties. For those statements, we claim
the protection of the safe harbor for forward-looking statements
contained in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.
Discussion of factors that may affect future results is contained in
our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
For any additional information please check our web page at:
List of the following financial statements attached:
Consolidated Income Statements:
New Iusacell Consolidated Balance Sheets
Old Iusacell Consolidated Balance Sheets
1 Unless otherwise noted, all monetary figures are in Mexican Pesos and restated as of
September 30, 1999 in accordance with Mexican GAAP, except for ARPU (which is in nominal