Strong Volumes at Stet Hellas Drive 26% Revenue Growth
Customer base grows 76%
March 12, 1999
ATHENS, Greece -- Stet Hellas Telecommunications S.
A. (NASDAQ: STHLY; Amsterdam: STHLS), today announced 1998
revenue growth of 26.3% on total revenues of Drs. 118.5 billion compared
to Drs. 93.8 billion the previous year.
The 1998 revenue growth was achieved primarily through a 76% increase
in the customer base, driving the year-end total to 688,614. Revenues
from telecommunications services increased by 32.5% to Drs. 107.4
The company's earnings before taxes were Drs. 12.2 billion, compared to
Drs. 11.4 billion in 1997, an increase of 7%. Net income for 1998 was
Drs. 6 billion, an increase of 3.5%. The company said 1998 net income
reflected greater than anticipated growth in its customer base offset by
increased customer acquisition costs due to increased competition.
The results are based on US Generally Accepted Accounting Principles
"We extended our track record for double-digit customer growth and
continued to position the company's Telestet brand to compete in our
dynamic marketplace," said Managing Director Giacinto Cicchese. "The
good news is that we are building on a strong foundation as service
innovator and technology leader in one of the most rapidly developing
mobile telephony markets in the world."
The company launched a series of new tariff plans under its Telestet brand
in 1998 that advanced its strategy of addressing distinct business and
consumer segments. Customer base growth in 1998 primarily reflects
increases in the company's B-Free pre-paid services, up by 208,240 net
customers. The popular pre-paid products require no service contracts or
monthly bills. B-Free customers represent approximately 43.2% of the
total customer base.
The company's strategic partnership arrangement with Germanos S.A,
Greece's leading telecommunications and electronics retailer, as well as
other enhancements to the company's retail distribution network,
contributed to a growth surge at the end of the year. In the fourth quarter,
the company added 108,212 customers, including 57,751 in December
"Our strategic partnership with Germanos added a formidable new channel
for the Telestet brand," Mr. Cicchese said. "The company fully anticipates
that this and other enhancements to our retail distribution network will
make a significant contribution in 1999 as well." During 1998, the
company opened another six company owned and operated "Telestet
Exclusive" retail stores for a total of 14.
Total minutes of use increased by 52.7% in 1998 to 675 million minutes,
as compared to 442 million minutes for the year 1997. Average traffic per
customer decreased during 1998 to 110 minutes per customer, compared
with 126 minutes per customer for 1997. This expected decrease in
average traffic per customer was due primarily to the increased number of
B-free pre-paid customers, who are generally lower volume consumers.
Average monthly service revenues per user decreased in 1998 to Drs.
17,437 as compared to Drs. 23,104 for 1997. This reflects lower traffic
volume per customer and lower average monthly fees mainly due to the
increase in B-free customers.
The company's churn rate for the year was 20.2%, equal to the previous
year. The churn rate includes migrations from tariff plans to B-free.
As a result of increased service revenues and an increased customer base,
particularly among pre-paid customers, costs of sales and services
provided as a percentage of service revenues decreased to 37.4%
compared with 39.8% in 1997. Selling, general and administrative costs
as a percentage of service revenues increased to 51.4% as compared to
48.9% for 1997.
EBITDA (which the company calculates as operating profit before
depreciation, amortization, bad debt and provisions) grew for 1998 by
19% to Drs. 38 billion while the EBITDA margin (EBITDA over service
revenues) decreased, moving to 36% from 40% for 1997. Operating
income as a proportion of service revenues declined for 1998 to 20% from
24.7% in 1997.
Roaming revenues rose by 30% to Drs. 9.9 billion. During 1998, the
company negotiated 17 new roaming agreements and at year's end had 94
roaming partners in 60 countries.
Expenditure relating to fixed assets totaled Drs. 29.7 billion in 1998. The
continuing development of the company's network accounted for Drs. 22.9
billion of fixed asset additions. Fixed asset additions included
development of the company's information systems, which for 1998 was
Drs. 5.3 billion.
In 1998, the company migrated its contract customer database to BSCS
version 4, a new, flexible billing and information system. BSCS will
enable development of new products and services, and provides a year
2000 solution for customer care and billing operations. Additionally, it
allows on-line and real-time resolution of the most common customer
A significant company milestone in 1998 was the Initial Public Offering
on June 3 of 12.1 million ordinary shares under the symbol STHLY on the
NASDAQ exchange and as STHLS on the Amsterdam exchange. The
offering price was US$27 per share.
Selected Financial Data As of December 31st In millions except per Share amounts 1997 1998 1998 Statement of Operations Data Operating revenues: Revenues from telecommunication services Drs.81,061 Drs 107,416 $ 384 Revenues from sales of handsets and accessories 12,718 11,069 40 Total operating revenues 93,779 118,486 423 Cost of sales and services provided (32,227) (40,202) (144) Gross profit 61,552 78,284 280 Provision for doubtful accounts (1,907) (1,500) (5) Selling, general and administrative expenses (39,652) (55,224) (197) Operating income (loss) 19,993 21,559 77 Interest and other financial income (expense), net (8,556) (9,318) (33) Income (loss) before income taxes 11,437 12,242 44 Income taxes (provision) benefit (5,630) (6,233) (22) Net income (loss) 5,807 6,009 21 Earnings per Share Drs. 80 Drs. 83 $ 0,30 In millions Balance Sheet Data December December December 31, 1997 31, 1998 31, 1998 Non-current assets Drs. 85,779 Drs. 112,750 $ 403 Total assets 111,196 149,510 534 Long-term bank loans, net of current position 55,818 46,499 166 Reserves and other long-term liabilities 122 4,253 15 Total liabilities 89,605 121,910 436 Shareholders' equity 21,591 27,600 99 At year end 1997 1998 Customers Net customer additions 179,665 297,278 Customers 391,336 688,614 Contract customers 302,112 391,150 Pre-paid customers 89,224 297,464 Churn (%) 20.2 20.2 Traffic Total traffic (millions of minutes) 442 675 Average monthly minutes of use per customer 126 110 Average monthly service revenue per customer 23,104 17,437
The matters discussed in this interim report include forward looking statements that
are subject to risks and uncertainties including, but not limited to, economic
conditions, the continued maintenance of the capacity of the Company's network, the
ability of the Company to resolve certain legal proceedings in a manner favorable
to the Company, and other risks indicated in filings with the U.S. Securities and
Stet Hellas Telecommunications S.A. is at the forefront of the mobile
communications industry in Europe. To its growing base of more than
688,000 customers in Greece, the company's Telestet brand stands for
innovative services and the latest in communications technology. The
company's shareholders include Stet Mobile Holdings NV, Bell Atlantic
and the Interamerican Group. Its stock is publicly traded on the NASDAQ
(STHLY) and Amsterdam (STHLS) exchanges. Internet users: For more
information, visit the Stet Hellas web site at www.telestet.gr.