Ice Group ASA: Third quarter 2021 results
ICE Group ASA (“ICE Group” or the "Company") delivered record high operating revenues in the third quarter of 2021, of NOK 593 million compared to NOK 535 million in the same quarter last year, representing 11% growth year-over-year. Operating margins are increasing in line with previous guidance. For the third quarter, adjusted EBITDA was NOK 90 million, implying a 15% margin, in line with guidance.
The Company continues to grow its customer base and added 14,000 new subscribers in the third quarter, bringing the total smartphone subscriber base to 677,000. The Company is maintaining its market leading win rate in the B2C segment, and even though some Covid-19 restrictions were lifted this summer and retail stores were open during the quarter, the total market portability was significantly lower than last year, impacting the growth rate negatively.
On 15 November 2021 “NiceMobil” was launched. This is to the Company’s knowledge the first fully digital only mobile concept in the world. All customer interactions are digital, and the concept is app based with eSIM only and credit card payment to make user experience easier for the customers. The fully digital concept of NiceMobil allows for very competitive price points and this concept is expected to allow ICE Group to boost the subscriber growth rate and optimize value creation.
The efforts to increase customer satisfaction and further improve customer offerings are paying off, reducing smartphone churn further to 23% in the third quarter, down from 26% in the same quarter last year. This is also reflected in EPSI's annual survey (Mobile Study 2021) of customer satisfaction among Norwegian mobile customers. The survey shows that ICE Group has increased customer satisfaction the most in the industry, with an increase of a total of 4.6 points since last year. Efforts to reduce churn and improve net subscriber growth by improving customer experience are focus areas for the Company.
ARPU improved slightly to NOK 235 in the third quarter compared to the corresponding quarter last year (NOK 233). This summer the Company launched a Family package which includes iceTrygg insurance for ID theft, online abuse and safe e-commerce. In the third quarter this product was also made available to non-family subscribers for a fee of NOK 69 per month. These are the first steps into value added services for ICE Group, and products like these are intended to improve customer loyalty, sales and ARPU going forward.
Today, on 18 November 2021, the Company switched on its commercial 5G offering. The first 5G base stations are located in Oslo, and in the short term the Company plans to have 5G in the 4-5 largest cities in Norway. Longer term the plan is to reach 75% population coverage on 5G. In September, the Company was awarded 80MHz of valuable frequency blocks in the 3,600 MHz band in the national frequency auction in Norway. The frequencies will be highly valuable for the build-out of 5G and for securing the third nationwide mobile network in Norway in the coming years.
In the third quarter ICE Group added 62 new smartphone base stations, bringing the total to 3,133. This run-rate is in line with ICE Group’s guidance of adding between 300 and 500 base stations in 2021, year to date the Company added 246 new smartphone base stations. Voice on-net was 71% in the third quarter, up from 57% in the same quarter last year, while data on-net increased to 89% in the third quarter from 83% in the same quarter last year. The summer holiday travel activity impacted on-net negatively and the underlying on-net development continues to improve.
In sum, the Company’s operational and financial parameters continue to point in the right direction, and with the launch of NiceMobil the Company expects the growth to accelerate further. ICE Group has now delivered 26 consecutive quarters of smartphone subscription growth and remains confident that the Company will continue to win market share and improve margins strongly going forward.
A live presentation of the results will be held today at 08:00 (CET). CEO Eivind Helgaker and CFO Ola Beinnes Fosse will present. Investors, analysts, lenders, media and other stakeholders are invited to follow the webcast on https://channel.royalcast.com/hegnarmedia/#!/hegnarmedia/20211104_2. A recording of the presentation will be available on our web site shortly after the live webcast has ended.
Alternative performance measures used in this announcement are defined and explained in the Company's Q3 2021 report.
* Espen Risholm, Head of investor relations, +47 924 80 248, email@example.com
* Reynir Johannesson, Communication director, +47 940 94 900, firstname.lastname@example.org
This information is considered to include inside information pursuant to the EU Market Abuse Regulation article 7 and is subject to the disclosure requirements pursuant to section 5-12 of the Norwegian Securities Trading Act and the EU Market Abuse Regulation article 19. This stock exchange announcement was published by Espen Risholm, Head of investor relations in ICE Group ASA, on 18 November 2021 at 07:00 CET.