EANS-Adhoc: freenet AG / freenet Group announces preliminary results for 2012, dividend policy and outlook until 2014

PR Newswire/euro adhoc/
EANS-Adhoc: freenet AG / freenet Group announces preliminary results for 2012,
dividend policy and outlook until 2014
ad-hoc disclosure pursuant to section 15 of the WpHG transmitted by euro adhoc with the aim of a Europe-wide distribution. The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement. 
Financial Figures/Balance Sheet
28.02.2013 
freenet Group announces preliminary results for 2012, dividend policy and
outlook until 2014 
Büdelsdorf, 28 February 2013 - According to the preliminary figures, the company
achieved Group EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes and
depreciation/amortisation) of 357.8 million euros (prior year: 337.4 million
euros) and free cash flow of 260.0 million euros (prior year: 241.0 million
euros). freenet AG has thereby exceeded its guidance, which was increased in
November 2012, of 355.0 million euros for Group EBITDA and of 255.0 million
euros for free cash flow*. 
Based on preliminary figures, freenet AG generated Group revenue of 3.09 billion
euros (previous year, adjusted: 3.27 billion euros), slightly above the last
forecast minimum value of 3.0 billion euros. The Mobile Communications segment
was again the dominant contributor in the freenet Group, accounting for 3.03
billion euros in revenue. The decline in revenue against near-stable ARPU
results from reduced hardware sales with lower margins; lower revenue from
prepaid customers due to the elimination of inactive SIM cards, which did not
affect net income; and from a year-on-year reduction in the average contract
customer base as a result of the strategic focus on high-value customer
relationships. 
In the second half of the year, the contract customer base grew again for the
first time, and at the balance sheet date amounted to 5.79 million customers
(previous year: 5.75 million). The no-frills area, which is primarily comprised
of mobile contracts completed online in the discount market, showed a
particularly dynamic development with an increase of 2.71 million customers
(previous year: 2.37 million). As a result, freenet increased its customer
ownership - a key indicator defined as the cumulative customer base in the
contract and no-frills sectors - by 4.7 percent to 8.50 million customers
(previous year: 8.12 million). 
In the financial year 2012 freenet AG generated Group EBITDA of 357.8 million
euros (2011: 337.4 million euros). The freenet Group incurred no further
restructuring-related one-off effects (2011: 22.9 million euros). 
The company achieved a Group profit before tax of 166.9 million euros in 2012 -
a year-on-year increase of 49.6 million euros or 42.3 percent (2011: 117.3
million euros). The main reasons for this development were the increase in
EBITDA compared to 2011 (+ 20.4 million euros); lower depreciation (+ 20.1
million euros), primarily of intangible assets; and an improved net interest
income (+ 9.1 million euros). 
freenet AG's Group result increased by 20.3 percent to 173.2 million euros
(previous year: 144.0 million euros). 
freenet reduced net debt by 14.8 percent to 451.3 million euros at year-end 2012
(previous year: 529.4 million euros). As a result, the debt factor, the ratio of
net debt to EBITDA, decreased to 1.26 (previous year: 1.57). 
Alignment of financial strategy and dividend policy due to positive business
development:
Based on the preliminary business results, which are above the most recent
forecast, the Executive Board is adjusting the dividend policy originally
announced for the 2012 financial year, and is increasing its range for dividend
payments to between 50 and 75 percent of free cash flow (previously: 40 to 60
percent). 
For an earnings-oriented optimisation of its capital structure, the Executive
Board has also decided to adjust the target corridor of the debt factor
originally announced for the financial year 2012, to between 1.0 and 2.5
(previously: 1.5 to 2.5). The target values for the other parameters of the
financial strategy (interest cover, equity ratio and cash reserve) remain
unchanged.  
Furthermore, in future between 50 and 75 percent of free cash flow is to be
distributed as dividend. 
Outlook:
In 2013 the freenet Group aims to increase its consolidated revenue, which
should show modest growth again in 2014. This is driven by the first-time
consolidation of Gravis - Computervertriebsgesellschaft mbH ("GRAVIS");
expectations of a slight increase in the contract customer base; the continued
successful marketing of valuable postpaid contracts in conjunction with data
products; and the marketing of high-end devices. As a result, we expect an ARPU
in the contract customer base of around 23 euros, depending on developments in
the market. 
The acquisition of GRAVIS in the first quarter of 2013 represents an important
enhancement of the company's strategic development into a digital lifestyle
provider of high-quality Apple products. 
For the financial years 2013 and 2014, the company is aiming for Group EBITDA of
355.0 million euros and of 360.0 million euros, and free cash flow of 255.0
million euros and of 260.0 million euros. 
*Free cash flow is defined as cash flow from operating activities, minus
investments in property, plant and equipment and intangible assets, plus
proceeds from the disposal of property, plant and equipment and intangible
assets. 
Disclaimer:
This announcement contains forward-looking statements based on current
assumptions and forecasts made by the management of freenet AG. Known and
unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could cause the actual
development, in particular the results, financial condition and performance of
our company, to differ materially from the forward-looking statements given
above. The company assumes no obligation to update these forward-looking
statements or to adjust them to future events or developments. All figures are
based on preliminary calculations before final consolidation and completion of
the audit. There may therefore be discrepancies to the final financial figures
to be presented on 26 March 2013. 
Further inquiry note:
freenet AG
Investor Relations
Tel.: +49 (0)40 513 06-778
E-Mail: ir@freenet.ag 
issuer:      freenet AG 
         Hollerstraße 126 
         D-24782 Büdelsdorf
phone:       +49 (0)4331 691000
mail:        ir@freenet.ag
WWW:         http://www.freenet-group.de
sector:      Telecommunications
ISIN:        DE000A0Z2ZZ5
indexes:     Midcap Market Index, TecDAX, CDAX, HDAX, Prime All Share, 
         Technology All Share
stockmarkets: free trade: Hannover, Berlin, München, Hamburg, Düsseldorf, 
         Stuttgart, regulated dealing/prime standard: Frankfurt 
language:   English 
    
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-0- Feb/28/2013 18:04 GMT
 
 
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