Millicom Q4 & FY 2016 Results, 8 February 2017

Millicom International Cellular S.A. (i)

  • Substantial progress made towards our strategic goals
    • Record 2.6 million 4G net adds - 24% growth(ii) in mobile data revenue
    • Fibre network expands by a record 777,000 homes - 8.1 million total homes passed
  • Expanded EBITDA margin - strong 23% cash-flow growth - lower net debt - dividend cash-covered
  • Agreement reached to sell Tigo Senegal for $129 million, process initiated to sell holding in HTA

Q4 Highlights

  • Latam delivered 6.5% cable revenue growth(ii) and 17.5% mobile data revenue growth(ii)
  • Service revenue down 0.9% year-on-year(ii) - held back by voice/SMS decline and El Salvador
  • Adjusted EBITDA margin strengthened to 35.5%
  • Africa achieved 9.1% service revenue growth(ii) with EBITDA margin of 32.4%

Full-Year Performance

  • Total revenue of $6.25 billion - service revenue growth(ii) 1.2% year-on-year
  • Adjusted EBITDA of $2,225 million, growth(ii) of 4.3%
  • Operating Cash Flow up 23% to $1,141 million – Africa delivered positive OCF
  • Net debt down by $114 million to $4,181 million
  • 2016 Ordinary Dividend proposed at $2.64 per share

Summary of key financial indicators

$m Q4 2016 Q4 2015 % change FY 2016   FY 2015  % change 
Revenue 1,594 1,636 (2.6%)  6,249 6,572 (4.9%) 
    Organic growth (ii) (2.1%)  4.4%  - (0.4%)  7.3%  -
Service revenue 1,484  1,505 (1.4%)  5,855  6,056 (3.3%) 
    Organic growth (ii) (0.9%)  6.2%  - 1.2%  5.8%  -
Reported EBITDA 536 502 6.9% 2,172 2,188 (0.8%)
Adjusted EBITDA 566 549 3.1%  2,225 2,227 (0.1%) 
    Organic growth (ii) 1.4%  3.0% - 4.3%  9.0%  -
Adjusted EBITDA margin 35.5%  33.6% - 35.6%  33.9%  -
Capex 400  446 (10.4%)  1,031 1,258 (18.1%) 
OCF (EBITDA – Capex ) 136 56 145.4% 1,141 930 22.7%
Net debt 4,181  4,295  (2.6%) 

(i) The financial information presented in this earnings release is with Guatemala (55% owned) & Honduras (66.7% owned) as if fully consolidated. See page23 for reconciliation with IFRS numbers. The comparative 2015 financial information in this earnings release has been re-presented as a result of the classification of our operations in DRC as discontinued operations (in accordance with IFRS 5)
(ii) Organic growth represents year-on-year growth in local currency , at constant perimeter, and  includes regulatory changes. See page 21 for reconciliation with reported measures. See page 20 for definition of Alternative Performance Measures.

Millicom Chief Executive Mauricio Ramos commented:

In 2016 we made substantial progress towards our strategic goal of a two-fold reconfiguration of our business, rapidly growing our mobile data and cable revenue in Latin America, and pushing ahead with major initiatives to enhance our operational efficiency.

Looking ahead to 2017, we aim to accelerate further the implementation of our strategy in Latin America, targeting to roll out state-of-the-art fibre to more than 1 million additional homes in the year, and to add more than 3 million new 4G mobile data customers.”

“In the final quarter of the year mobile data and cable in Latin America together contributed 50% of total group service revenue, compared to 45% in the same period the year before, as we reach a pivotal point in our revenue mix.  Cable revenue growth was driven by the addition in the year of 777,000 new fibre homes passed, taking our total cable footprint to over 8.1 million homes, ahead of the target of 8 million we had set at the start of the year. 

Growth of mobile data revenue in Latam was driven by the increase in the number of smartphone data users, and in particular by the rapid growth of our 4G customer base.  We have now launched 4G in all of our Latam markets and our high-ARPU 4G customer base grew four-fold during the year, to more than 3.4 million.

As expected we saw continuing erosion of our voice and SMS revenues in Latam during the year, reflecting the changing patterns of customer usage seen in mobile markets globally, and this constrained our total service revenue growth in Latam in the year.  The effect of declining voice and SMS was exacerbated in Colombia, our largest market, which saw competitive pressures throughout 2016, although easing somewhat at the end of the year.  We also experienced very difficult operating conditions in El Salvador.  

Service revenue in Latam was therefore down 0.2% in the year, and while EBITDA declined by 2.2% our margin improved slightly to 38.5%, and we generated Operating Cash Flow of $1.2 billion. 

Operational efficiencies achieved during the first year of our Project Heat initiatives underpinned our EBITDA margin and higher cash-flow in Latam, delivering a lower operating cost run rate as well as capex and working capital savings during 2016. 

Our African business performed well in 2016, exceeding our targets. Service revenue grew by 10.5% and the EBITDA margin improved to 29%, from 22% in 2015.  Most importantly, we achieved our target for Africa of positive operating cash flow in 2016, delivering Operating Cash Flow of $97 million.

We have agreed to sell our business in Senegal to Wari Group for $129 million, subject to regulatory approvals. We have also initiated a process to sell our 22% stake in Helios Towers Africa.  Both transactions are in line with our aim of focusing our business where we can develop advanced fixed and mobile data services and add material long-term value, while monetising the significant value we have created in other areas. 

Overall in 2016 we made substantial strategic progress and delivered service revenue growth, a higher EBITDA margin, and strong cash flow with our OCF margin of 18.3% now close to our 20% medium-term target. This performance gives us a solid base on which to accelerate our strategic execution in 2017 and deliver further revenue, EBITDA and cash flow growth.”

2017 Outlook

“For 2017 we expect organic service revenue growth to be in the low single-digit range, and ahead of the growth we achieved in 2016.  Whilst we expect robust competition in Colombia to continue, and voice and SMS revenues across Latam to decline further through 2017, the lower weighting of these within our overall mix, combined with further strong growth in our mobile data, home and B2B revenues, allows us to be more confident about our revenue growth outlook in 2017.

We expect to make further progress in configuring our cost base in 2017, driven by both operational leverage and Project Heat initiatives.  We therefore expect to deliver organic growth in EBITDA in the mid-to-high single-digit range, and again higher than the growth seen in 2016.

Capex in 2017 is expected to be broadly in line with 2016, and focused on our core growth areas of fibre and 4G network roll-out, with converged IT infrastructure

By growing EBITDA, and targeting our investment programme, we expect to deliver Operating Cash Flow growth in 2017 of around 10%”.

Outlook summary

Based on constant currency, at a constant perimeter with Guatemala and Honduras fully consolidated, and on our current assessment of the macroeconomic outlook, we currently expect for 2017:  

Service revenue(a) Low single-digit % organic growth
EBITDA Mid-to-high single-digit % organic growth
Capital expenditure In line with 2016
Operating Cash Flow(b) Growth around 10%

(a) Service revenue is Group revenue excluding telephone and equipment sales
(b) Operating Cash Flow is underlying EBITDA less capex (excluding spectrum and license costs)

Against our 2015 currency adjusted service revenue of $5.73 billion, full-year service revenue growth in 2016 was 1.4%, and against our 2015 currency adjusted EBITDA of $2.09 billion, full-year adjusted EBITDA growth in 2016 was 4.8%.

2016 Dividend 

At the Annual General Meeting on 4 May 2017 the Board will propose payment of an unchanged ordinary dividend of $2.64 per share.

Events subsequent to Year-End 

On 7 February we announced the sale of our business in Senegal for $129 million.  The transaction is subject to regulatory approval.  We have also announced our intention to sell a 22% stake in Helios Towers Africa, one of the leading tower companies in Africa.

Risks and uncertainty factors

Millicom operates in a dynamic industry characterized by rapid evolution in technology, consumer demand, and business opportunities. Combined with a focus on emerging markets in various geographic locations, the Group has a proactive approach to identifying, understanding, assessing, monitoring and acting on balancing risks and opportunities. For a description of risks and Millicom’s approach to risk management, please refer to the 2015 Annual Report ( In addition to the information in the 2015 Annual Report and the information provided in this release, please refer to Millicom’s press release, dated October 21, 2015, entitled “Millicom reports to authorities potential improper payments on behalf of its Guatemalan joint venture.” At this time, Millicom’s investigation remains on-going, and Millicom cannot predict the outcome or consequences of this matter.

This press release may contain certain “forward-looking statements” with respect to Millicom’s expectations and plans, strategy, management’s objectives, future performance, costs, revenue, earnings and other trend information. It is important to note that Millicom’s actual results in the future could differ materially from those anticipated in forward-looking statements depending on various important factors, including those included in this release. All forward-looking statements in this press release are based on information available to Millicom on the date hereof. All written or oral forward-looking statements attributable to Millicom International Cellular S.A., and Millicom International Cellular S.A. employees or representatives acting on Millicom’s behalf are expressly qualified in their entirety by the factors referred to above. Millicom does not intend to update these forward-looking statements.

Conference call details

A presentation and conference call to discuss these results will take place at 14.00 Stockholm / 14.00 Luxembourg / 13.00 London / 08.00 New York, on Wednesday 8 February.   Dial-in numbers:

Sweden            + 46 (0) 8 5033 6574

UK                    + 44 (0) 330 336 9411

US                    + 1 719 325 2213

Luxembourg      + 352 2786 1395

Access code:    2979432

A live audio stream of the analyst presentation can also be accessed at  Please dial in / log on 10 minutes prior to the start of the conference call to allow time for registration. Slides to accompany the conference call will be available at

Financial calendar

Millicom will publish Results for 2017 First Quarter on Wednesday 26 April 2017.


Investor Relations
David Boyd, Interim Head of Investor Relations                          
Tel: +352 277 59084 (Luxembourg) / +44 (0) 20 3249 2413 / +44 7584 889531

Mauricio Pinzon, Investor Relations Manager
Tel: +44 (0) 20 3249 2460

Press Enquiries
Vivian Kobeh, Corporate Communications Director
Tel: +352 277 59084 / Mobile +1 305 3022858

About Millicom

Millicom is a leading telecom and media company dedicated to emerging markets in Latin America and Africa.  Millicom sets the pace when it comes to providing innovative and customer-centric digital lifestyle services through its principal brand, Tigo.  Millicom employs more than 16,000 people and provides mobile services to more than 57 million customers, with a Cable footprint of more than 8.1 million homes passed. Founded in 1990, Millicom International Cellular SA is headquartered in Luxembourg and listed on NASDAQ OMX Stockholm under the symbol MIC.  In 2016, Millicom generated revenue of USD 6.25 billion and Adjusted EBITDA of USD 2.22 billion.

Combined Annual Report

This year we are publishing our first combined annual report that brings together our corporate responsibility and annual reports and is a natural evolution for us. It reflects both the strong social and economic impact of our products and services on our markets, and how we continue to embed responsible business practice within our business processes. Our reporting is also in line with our commitment to transparency which is a key element of building trust with our shareholders and wider stakeholders.


About Us

Millicom International Cellular S.A. is a global telecommunications group with mobile telephony operations in 14 countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia. It also operates cable and broadband businesses in five countries in Central America. The Group’s mobile operations have a combined population under license of approximately 267 million people.