BUEDELSDORF, Germany, March 26 /PRNewswire/ --
- The Acquisition of the Debitel Group has Resulted in the Biggest Network-Independent Telecommunications Provider for Mobile Communications and Fixed-Line Products - Revenue Increased by Over 1 Billion Euros to 2.87 Billion Euros - More Than 23 Million Total Customers in the Freenet Group - Group Result From Continued Operations Rises to 148.4 Million Euros (+140 Percent vs. 2007 Adjusted*)
With its acquisition of debitel Group and the latter's initial consolidation in the financial statements at 5 July 2008, freenet AG made a quantum leap during the past financial year. This is shown on the one hand in its new market position as the biggest network-independent telecommunications provider for mobile communications and fixed-line products in Germany, with nearly 1,000 shops and over 6,000 points of sale all over Germany. And on the other hand, this quantum leap is reflected in the results. The solid Group result is an ideal prerequisite for quickly paying down the company's debt and thereby safeguarding our corporate strategy for the long term, said Joachim Preisig, spokesman of the freenet AG Board of Managing Directors, commenting on the figures. All activities throughout the group are now combined under the freenet Group umbrella brand.
In a fiercely competitive telecommunications market dominated by sinking rates, declining growth rates in some cases, and even diminishing volumes, freenet Group generated revenues of 2.87 billion euros in 2008 - up by more than one billion euros or 70 percent year-on-year (2007: 1.69 billion euros); 1.09 billion euros of this was generated during Q4/2008, vs. 417.5 million euros in Q4/2007. This is especially remarkable against the backdrop of the overall economic crisis during the fourth quarter.
freenet Group reported consolidated earnings before interest, taxes and depreciation/amortisation (EBITDA) in the amount of 207.1 million euros. The company recognised provisions for a concept to restructure the Mobile Communications segment which was communicated in Q4/2008. Mostly due to the recognition of these provisions, the Mobile Communications segment incurred one-off costs of 73.5 million euros in the fourth quarter of 2008. Group results from continued operations - not including the DSL business, which is up for sale, and debitel Netherlands - improved significantly in 2008, rising by nearly 144 percent, from 60.9 million euros in 2007 to 148.4 million euros.
The main driver behind this development - in line with freenet Group's strategic focus on mobile communications and mobile Internet - was the group's core business, mobile communications: revenue in mobile communications doubled year-on-year to 2.65 billion euros and gross profit for the segment to 468.9 million euros. The positive development seen in the results is the consequence of a consistent consolidation process, said Joachim Preisig: By systematically exploiting the resulting synergy potential, the company will be able to increase its value creation in the long term as well, Preisig continued.
The number of customers in the group's core business of mobile communications increased significantly during the past business year, largely driven by the debitel Group acquisition: at the end of 2007, freenet Group had 5.7 million mobile communications customers; by the end of last year, the number had grown to 19.12 million customers. Of these, 8.83 million are under a subscription contract, while 10.29 million mobile communications customers have a prepaid contract. Overall, freenet Group commands a market share of close to 20 percent of the German mobile communications market; in future, freenet Group will address this service provider market under the 'mobilcom-debitel' brand.
With now over 19 million mobile communications customers, some 8 million portal customers, over 1.8 million paid service customers, 0.9 million DSL customers and more than 1.4 million narrowband customers, we are very well-equipped to compete, says Joachim Preisig. This is especially true for the high-growth mobile Internet market, in which we can contribute and consolidate our many years of experience and expertise in our various lines of business. The group had 7,255 employees at the end of the financial year.
* The costs of customer acquisition and customer retention and the accrual on the liabilities side of revenue components related to such costs were no longer capitalised in 2008. freenet has decided to no longer collect the necessary information about costs of customer acquisition and retention per customer in accordance with IAS 8.14(b).
The previous year's figures cited here are retrospectively adjusted figures to reflect the switch in reporting the costs of customer acquisition and retention, and the application of IFRS 5 for 'discontinued operations'.
Press enquiries: freenet Aktiengesellschaft Corporate Communications Elke Ruther Deelbogenkamp 4c 22297 Hamburg Phone: +49-40-513-06-777 Fax: +49-40-513-06-977 E-mail: email@example.com
Press enquiries: freenet Aktiengesellschaft, Corporate Communications, Elke Ruther, Deelbogenkamp 4c, 22297 Hamburg, Phone: +49-40-513-06-777, Fax: +49-40-513-06-977, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org