BICS weighs heavily on Proximus top line, as profits rise

Proximus

Proximus’ international wholesale arm pushed overall revenues down last year, but the Belgium-based operator delivered on profit growth.

Group revenues fell 2.1 percent year-on-year to €5.9 billion in 2016, as BICS saw sales drop 9.6 percent to €1.5 billion during the year.

The wholesale division’s performance continued to be impacted by falling voice traffic, but a 5.6 percent reverse in the fourth quarter was almost half the 10.9 percent fall in Q1.

BICS’ travails overshadowed ongoing growth elsewhere in the business.

Revenues at the company’s Consumer arm nudged up 0.4 percent to €2.9 billion, as growth in broadband and TV services offset a decline in mobile.

Enterprise revenues rose 1.9 percent to €1.4 billion, largely thanks to growth in ICT services such as cloud, storage and security.

Proximus said 124,000 customers signed up to its new converged offerings for consumers and businesses, which it launched in October.

EBITDA rose 3.6 percent to €1.8 billion, which pushed net income up 8.5 percent to €523 million.

The operator spent €949 million on upgrading its networks, improving customer experience and buying TV content last year, down €53 million on 2015.

CEO Dominique Leroy said: “Over the next three years we are strengthening our ambition and aim at accelerating our transformation towards a digital service provider, delivering superior customer experience.   

“We will make our organisation fitter, focusing on efficiency and simplification efforts to further structurally reduce our costs and hence finance our ambitious investment program.”

Earlier this week, the operator was forced into making a statement about Leroy’s remuneration.

It denied asking the government to give the CEO “a long-term bonus” but admitted that it had “approached the government early last year to inquire about the possibility of granting such an incentive”.

Read more: Proximus starts selling customer data reports for €700 a time

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