COMPETITIVE STRENGTH, COST CONTROLS, AND RECAPITALIZATION DRIVE TRUE GROUP TO REPORT A NET PROFIT FOR Q4 AND THE FULL YEAR 2014
BANGKOK, February 27, 2015 – True Corporation PLC (SET: TRUE) reported a net profit of Baht 1.4 billion in 2014 and 1.9 billion in the fourth quarter, the first full quarter after the Group’s recapitalization in September.
In 2014, True Group reported consolidated service revenue of Baht 67.5 billion and EBITDA of Baht 20.1 billion. The strong EBITDA improvement, more than 34%, was driven by higher revenue, lower marketing expenses and decreased regulatory costs. Gains from transferring more than 3,000 new towers to the TRUE Telecommunications Growth Infrastructure Fund (“TRUEIF”) also contributed towards this strong performance.
Interest expenses in the fourth quarter, the first full quarter after True’s recapitalization in September, declined 71% from the same quarter in 2013. This large decline, along with the completion of the depreciation of the 2G network assets, drove Net Income for the fourth quarter to Baht 1.9 billion from a loss of 0.5 billion a year ago. True is confident of continued profitability in 2015 as its competitive position continues to improve.
True President and CEO Suphachai Chearavanont said, “True Group achieved a number of major transformations during 2014, starting with IPO of TRUEIF followed by successful recapitalization, strategic partnership with China Mobile, significant gains in cellular market share, and cost management initiatives. These factors, together with tower construction and investment in TRUEIF, contributed to our remarkable achievements in this memorable year.
The convergence campaign continued to flourish throughout the year, expanding the combined subscriber base of True Group’s three core products to 28.2 million by the end of 2014.”
TrueMove H’s superior 4G LTE and 3G network coverage, its wide range of attractive offerings, and tremendous response to the launch of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus with its bundled packages saw non-voice revenue grow by almost 30% YoY in the fourth quarter. In addition, the success of TrueMove H’s localized marketing campaigns and continued popularity of affordable 3G handsets under the “True” brand facilitated strong 3G subscriber acquisition nationwide while strengthening the Group position in the prepaid segment. These resulted in a surge of TrueMobile’s service revenue growth, outperforming the industry, and a jump of market value share. TrueMobile’s service revenue market share rose in the fourth quarter to 17.8%, up from an average of 15.9% in 2013.
TrueOnline remains committed to deliver fast and reliable Internet connections to customers. Its high-quality broadband network, which covers 5 million households nationwide, leading broadband offerings with the highest standard setting speeds and uniquely attractive convergence packages fueled broadband YoY revenue growth of more than 15% in 2014 while expanding subscriber base to 2.1 million by the end of the year.
TrueVisions reinforced its pay TV leadership in 2014 by leveraging on the strength of its wide and complete range of international and local quality content. In addition, its mass-market strategy along with True Group’s convergence campaign saw remarkable response from the target segments. Also, the continued popularity of the redesigned advertising package and rising contribution from the digital channels drove TrueVisions’ advertising revenue to grow more than 40% in 2014. TrueVisions’ customer base increased to 2.5 million at the end of 2014.
Looking forward, Mr Suphachai said, “We will continue to ride on the strong momentum of our convergence campaign, synergies with China Mobile, and productivity improvement to further enhance profitability. In addition, TrueMove H’s 4G network will be expanded to cover 80% of the Thai population by April 2015 while TrueOnline’s broadband network will reach 10 million households by the end of next year. These, together with TrueVisions’ exclusive content and improved customer services across all segments, will further strengthen True Group’s lifestyle convergence leadership.”
True Group CFO Noppadol Dej-Udom said, “2014 marked a momentous turnaround year for True Group’s financial performance. We are pleased that our cost management efforts, along with our recapitalization and solid revenue and market share growth, have elevated True into a successful, proud and profitable enterprise. True’s credit profile has also dramatically improved with net debt-to-EBITDA ratio at 1.6 times, far below the 4.6 times level just a year ago. We are confident that with our relentless focus and efforts, we will maintain this financial discipline to further improve the Group’s profitability going forward.”