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In 2020, TDF Group posted:

  • €687.2 million revenues – up 4.9% like-for-like fueled by mobile and fiber networkrollout
  • Capital expenditure up 15.3% to €352.7 million, representing 51.3% of revenues
  • Increased output capacity – 260 000 FttH plugs built or in progress and 300 further telecoms masts erected in 2020
  • €389.4 million adjusted EBITDA, up 5.9%

2020 earnings testify to the Group’s resilient business against the backdrop of the global pandemic. Continuing the trends from over the last few years, TDF achieved further progress with its growth strategy. This includes big industry project rollouts and self-funded capital expenditure to boost fixed and mobile ultra high-speed networks, which have proven crucial during the pandemic.

  • In telecoms infrastructure, the Group ramped up its existing facilities operations and built more masts to enhance regional mobile coverage. Ongoing mast construction and existing facilities marketing despite lockdown restrictions resulted in 8.3% revenue growth. In 2020, TDF erected 300 mobile telecoms masts, bringing the total erected since the 2016 mast construction program launch to 1,100.
    Meanwhile the site hosting business (hosting telecoms operator equipment on Group sites) rose 6.2 % on a like-for-like basis. Other telecom services revenues surged 30.8% primarily as a result of 5G rollout.
  • Fiber rollout accelerated leading to fiber revenues growing three-fold to €20.2 million. 70% of the four French county networks (Val d’Oise, Yvelines, Loir-et-Cher/Indre-et- Loire and Maine-et-Loire) that the Group operates has been installed and the networks are very nearly complete in Val d’Oise and Les Yvelines. A total of 506,000 plugs have been or are currently being built, out of the total 750,000 plugs that TDF is contracted to build. The Group completed 260,000 plugs during 2020.
    Sales were strong throughout the TDF-covered regions, 2020 order entry totaled 80,500 plugs, up from 17,000 in 2019. Consequently, TDF strengthened its reputation and industrial expertise in this new market.
  • TV/radio revenues dipped 2.1% year-on-year. Covid-19 and market sentiment dampened business in the industry. TDF continues to reduce DTT and radio costs and streamline resources while upholding top quality customer service in a market where demand for the Group’s broadcasting platform remains strong.

Significant capital expenditure and increased output capacity

TDF is pursuing its major telecoms and fiber capital expenditure strategy and in so doing, reinforces its market reputation as industrial player:

  • €352.7 million capital expenditure, or 51.3 % of revenues (up 15.3 % year-on-year). Operating capex included €307.4 million to step up growth in Telecoms and Fiber.
  • Capex allows TDF to ramp up customer masts and fiber installations while managing costs and resources. TDF has continued to expand its presence that now consists of 19,000 marketed sites including 7,300 working sites – masts, towers, rooftops, stations and more.
  • The faster rollout of ultra high-speed fixed networks and masts was made possible by TDF’s expanded industrial capacity as manager of the end-to-end construction process.

Over the last few years, TDF has sold its media services business and has refocused on its three core businesses: mobile phone infrastructure, optical fiber networks and TV/radio broadcasting. Following the sale of Médiamobile in November 2018 and Bebanjo in November 2019, Cognacq-Jay Image (formerly Arkena) was sold in January 2020 followed by Tim Congo in May 2020.The Group’s refocusing on infrastructure businesses and its ongoing capex strategy, combined with tight cost control, resulted in an increase in 2020 operating income. Like-for-like adjusted EBITDA rose 5.9% to €389.4 million (before IFRS 16).

The Group’s order backlog reached €3.3 billion representing 4.7 years revenues, up 30% vs 2019 due to increased infrastructure rollout and signed agreements with telecoms operators to roll over big contracts.

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of telecoms infrastructure, and TDF’s position as a major digital development player. TDF delivers DTT and radio reception services benefiting all French people. By installing networks, TDF helps improve fixed and mobile superfast broadband that the entire population needs more than ever. Both TDF’s offices and operations remained open throughout 2020 despite lockdowns.

TDF Group CEO Olivier Huart said: “In spite of covid-19, we increased capex and kept our telecoms, fiber and TV/radio businesses running, which people required more than ever. In fact we continued to expand our presence and regional digital coverage. Our resilience allowed us to report higher revenues and earnings. Backed by our industrial output capacity, our results confirm we are on the right track focusing on capital expenditure and rolling out telecoms and fiber infrastructure.”