3 Group achieved “another important milestone” in 2013, according to parent Hutchison Whampoa, reporting positive EBITDA less capex for the period.
The “encouraging performance” is said to reflect the European operator’s strong market position in the smartphone and mobile data segments, the increased contribution from 3 Austria following the acquisition of Orange Austria in January 2013, and a “well-disciplined operating and capital expenditure profile”.
In Europe, 3’s registered customer base increased 13 per cent during the year to pass 26.6 million customers, of which more than 83 per cent are active.
3 Group saw EBIT of HKD4.86 billion ($626.3 million), up from HKD3.15 billion, on revenue of HKD61.98 billion, compared with HKD58.71 billion for 2012.
The company said that cumulative acquisition costs for 4G (LTE) services totalled around €1.1 billion.
And looking forward, it anticipates further improvements in underlying performances, following the completion of the transition to a non-subsidised handset model in the customer base in 2013, and stabilisation of European mobile termination regimes.
Away from 3 Group, Hutchison saw tough times for its Hong Kong business, which also houses its operations in Macau.
EBIT at Hutchison Telecommunications Hong Kong was HKD1.37 billion, down from HKD1.74 billion, on revenue of HKD12.78 billion, down from HKD15.54 billion. The unit maintained its active mobile customer base at around 3.8 million.
Hutchison noted changes including reduced mobile hardware and service revenue from lower demand for new handset models and the transition to a non-subsidised handset model, which was only completed in the first half of 2013.
Going forward, the unit’s performance is expected to stabilise, with the handset subsidy transition complete, the removal of unlimited local data offerings, and the introduction of additional tier-pricing in late 2013.
And for its Hutchison Asia Telecommunications unit, there was a loss (LBIT) of HKD409 million, compared with a prior-year loss of HKD846 million, on revenue of HKD6.3 billion, up from HKD4.45 billion.
In 2014, HAT will “continue to focus on growing its business in Indonesia, where major network rollout activities were completed in the third quarter of 2013”.
The unit has an active customer base of approximately 43.5 million with operations in Indonesia, Vietnam and Sri Lanka.