Helios Towers plc announces results for the year to 31 December 2019

Full year results in-line with expectations

Financial highlights

  • Full year Group revenue increased by 9% year-on-year to US$388m (2018: US$356m), driven by the continued growth in the number of sites and tenancies across the Group.
    • Q4 2019 Group revenue increased by 3% to US$100m (Q3 2019: US$97m).
  • Full year Adjusted EBITDA increased by 16% year-on-year to US$205m (2018: US$178m), reflecting both tenancy growth and continued improvements in operational efficiency, with the Adjusted EBITDA margin expanding to 53% (2018: 50%), up 3ppts.
    • Q4 2019 Adjusted EBITDA increased by 2% to US$54m (Q3 2019: US$52m), the 20th consecutive quarter of Adjusted EBITDA growth.
  • Operating loss was US$-5m in 2019, decreasing by US$-8m year-on-year (2018: US$3m). Operating loss in 2019 included US$63m of exceptional items, deal costs and non-cash costs related to our continued site consolidation programme (2018: US$32m).
  • Net debt at 31 December 2019 of US$627m (2018: US$657m), resulting in net leverage of 2.9x as of 31 December 2019 (31 December 2018: 3.5x).

Operational highlights

  • Number of tenants increased by 8% year-on-year to 14,591 tenants (2018: 13,549). Q4 tenancy number increased by 3% (Q3 2019: 14,226).
  • Number of sites increased by 3% year-on-year to 6,974 total sites (2018: 6,745). Q4 number of sites increased by 1% (Q3 2019: 6,903).
  • Tenancy ratio increased by 0.08x to 2.09x (2018: 2.01x). Q4 tenancy ratio increased by 0.03x (Q3 2019: 2.06x).
  • In March 2019, the Group entered the South African market through a partnership with Vulatel to create Helios Towers South Africa; and through the subsequent acquisition of SA Towers in May, delivering a pipeline of over 500 sites.
  • On 18 October 2019 Helios Towers was admitted to the premium segment of the Official List and trading on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange.
  • The Company continues to monitor markets to determine an adequate window for a potential refinancing of its existing capital structure through an issuance of notes. The refinancing is also expected to consist of a new revolving credit facility in an amount up to US$70m and a new US$200m term loan to be used for inorganic growth opportunities and general corporate purposes.

Key performance indicators table

Period Ended 31 December FY 19 FY 18 Change Q4 19 Q3 19 Change
Sites 6,974 6,745 +3% 6,974 6,903 1%
Tenancies 14,591 13,549 +8% 14,591 14,226 +3%
Tenancy ratio 2.09x 2.01x +0.08x 2.09x 2.06x +0.03x
Revenue (US$m) 388 356 +9% 100 97 +3%
Adjusted EBITDA (US$m)1 205 178 +16% 54 52 +2%
Adjusted EBITDA margin1 53% 52% +1ppt 54% 54% 0ppt
Operating Profit / (Loss) -4.5 3.3 -7.8 -17.3 0.1 -17.4
Portfolio free cash flow1 169 133 +27% 44 45 -2%
Net debt at end of period1 627 657 -5% 627 730 -14%
Net leverage at the end of the period1,2 3.1x 3.7x -0.6x 2.9x 3.5x -0.6x

 

1 Alternative Performance Measures are described in our defined terms and conventions.
2 Calculated as net debt divided by annualised Adj. EBITDA for the quarter and Adj. EBITDA for the year

Kash Pandya, Chief Executive Officer, said:

“Helios Towers has had another strong year, both financially and operationally. Revenues increased +9% to US$388 million, Adjusted EBITDA grew 16% to US$205 million. Our operating profit was a touch below breakeven at US$-5 million and included US$63 million of exceptional items, deal costs and non-cash costs related to our value-accretive site consolidation program.

I am particularly proud that we have now delivered twenty consecutive quarters of adjusted EBITDA growth driven by continued tenancy growth and operational efficiencies. We also entered a dynamic fifth market, South Africa, early in the year, which gives us valuable experience of the most pioneering digital market in Africa. Our successful listing on the London Stock Exchange in October 2019 provided market affirmation of our strategy and ambition as a Group.

In 2020, and beyond, we will continue to focus on driving profitable revenue expansion by leveraging the exciting growth in our sub-Saharan markets, our long-term client contracts and sustained improvements in our operational excellence, with an appropriate eye on further inorganic opportunities. Helios Towers is investing heavily in local expertise, capabilities and training that deliver the services for our MNO customers and their users, as well as generating broader economic benefits in the countries in which we operate. We also remain keenly focused on delivering on the structural opportunities present across Africa.”

Earnings conference call

  • Management will host a conference call today for analysts and institutional investors at 09.30 GMT. Dial in details for the conference call are:
  • Europe & International: +44 20 3936 2999
  • South Africa (local) : 087 550 8441
  • USA (local): 1 646 664 1960
  • Passcode: 747254
Investor Relations

Manjit Dhillon

                                         

+44 (0)776 723 7010

 

Media Relations
Edward Bridges / Stephanie Ellis FTI Consulting LLP +44 (0)20 3727 1000

 

Read the full announcement here

Download the presentation

Download the 2019 Annual Report

 

About Helios Towers (“HT”)

  • Helios Towers is a leading independent telecommunications tower infrastructure company in Africa, having established one of the continent's most extensive tower portfolios with close to 7,000 towers across five countries. It builds, owns and operates telecom passive infrastructure, providing services to mobile network operators.
  • HT owns and operates more sites than any other operator in each of Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo (“DRC”), and Congo Brazzaville. It is also a leading operator in Ghana with a strong urban presence and established a presence in South Africa in 2019.
  • HT pioneered the model in Africa of buying towers that were held by single operators and providing services utilising the tower infrastructure to the seller and other operators. This allows wireless operators to outsource non-core tower-related activities, enabling them to focus their capital and managerial resources on providing higher quality services more cost-effectively.

For further information go to:

www.heliostowers.com

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