Vantage Towers aims to generate revenues of around the €1 billion mark in the current financial year, a modest increase on its pro forma turnover in full-year 2021.
The mobile towers business, spun of out Vodafone last year and listed in Frankfurt in March, reported group revenue of €545 million for the last financial year. However, the figure does not include a full-year’s performance for many of the assets it picked up during the 12 months to the end of March; on a pro forma basis its top line came in at €966 million, slightly up on the €945 million it posted the previous year.
For the current financial year it expects to generate €995 million-€1.01 billion in revenues. It forecasts stable adjusted EBITDAaL – its 2021 figure was €524 million, up 2.1% – and recurring free cash flow of €390 million-€400 million, compared with €384 million last year.
“I am pleased that we have fully delivered on our FY21 operational and financial targets, and we remain focused on commercialising our business and delivering our medium-term targets,” said Vivek Badrinath, chief executive of Vantage Towers, in a statement accompanying the results.
Key among the firm’s medium-terms targets is its aim to increase its tenancy ratio – or the number of retail operators using its sites – to greater than 1.5x. As of the end of March it had a ratio of 1.4x, up from 1.37x at the end of Q3.
Growing that tenancy ratio will be vital to increasing turnover. Of the company’s reported revenues of €545 million, just €58 million came from customers other than Vodafone. The firm added around 1,800 new tenancies in the last financial year, of which a significant 1,300 were from non-Vodafone customers. It grew its footprint of macro sites to 45,700 across its eight consolidated European markets by fiscal year-end, an increase of around 2,300, while the figured reached 82,200 when its UK and Italian joint ventures, Cornerstone and INWIT respectively, were factored in.
Speaking of INWIT, the Italian towers business Vodafone shares with TIM last week presented its first-quarter numbers and like Vantage Towers reported massive growth due to the merger. On an organic basis though, its Q1 revenues grew 3.4% while its EBITDAaL margin was up 8.3% to 65%. It built out 30 new sites in Q1 and raised its tenancy ratio to 1.92x.
“The business plan objectives and 2021 guidance are confirmed,” said INWIT CEO Giovanni Ferigo. “During the year growth will accelerate with the gradual contribution of new hostings, the creation of new sites and the development of new services.”
There was a similar message from Vantage Towers.
“We are working to grow our revenues and deliver our efficiency programmes to provide attractive returns for our shareholders and make a significant contribution to better connectivity and the sustainable digitisation of Europe,” Badrinath said.
Those returns to shareholders are looking healthy, as you would expect from an infrastructure business. As it has noted previously, Vantage is paying out a dividend of 60% of recurring free cash flow to shareholders, which equates to a payout of around €280 million.
Much of that figure will go to Vodafone this year, which still owns 81.1% of Vantage Towers; Vodafone is due to report its full-year numbers tomorrow, incidentally.
There was nothing from Vantage Towers about its future shareholder structure, but with so much M&A action in the towers space in recent months and big guns talking openly about the possibility of joint ventures, the status quo is unlikely to remain indefinitely.
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