Bigblu Broadband “positioned for continued growth”
December 2, 2021
Bigblu Broadband (BBB), a provider of alternative super-fast and ultra-fast broadband services, has provided an unaudited trading update for the 12-month period ended November 30th 2021.
During the period, BBB delivered growth across all four of the Board’s key metrics: customer base, revenue, EBITDA and free cash flow. As a result, the Directors remain confident in the future growth prospects of the business, and the Board will continue its focus on ensuring it can maximise the inherent value within the Company and deliver further shareholder returns.
- Good growth across the Continuing Group during the period with significant opportunity to further accelerate customer numbers, revenue, EBITDA, and free cash flow
- SkyMesh has become the clear market leader in Australia having been named Best Satellite NBN Provider for three years in a row to 2021
- Conditional acquisition of customers and assets of Clear Networks (Pty) in Australia which has c2.2k customers (c3k connections)
- Completion of Bigblu Norge’s infrastructure upgrade program in the agreed timelines at a lower cost and have continued the demounting of the most unprofitable masts where appropriate
- Bigblu Norge has also recently entered into a distribution agreement with Telenor to provide next generation superfast broadband via wireless 5G delivering speeds up to 500 Mbps with unlimited data packages and has successfully delivered its first customers in Norway on this service.
Continuing Group: significant improvement across key performance indicators as follows:
- The customer base at the end of November 2021 was c.60k (FY20: 57.2k) – strong organic growth in customer numbers in Australia offset by ongoing pressure on customer numbers in the Nordics due to the churn relating to the phased demounting of loss-making sites
- Revenues increased by c 15 per cent to c.£27 million (FY20: LFL £23.6 million) in the period
- Adjusted EBITDA improved by c10 per cent to c.£4.5 million (FY20: LFL £4.1 million)
- Following completion of the disposal and the return of capital to shareholders, the Group’s net cash position at November 30th 2021 was c.£5 million.
During the period under review, the Company sold its majority holding in Quickline Communications to global private markets investment firm Northleaf Capital Partners. The Disposal valued BBB’s shareholding in Quickline at up to £48.6 million, representing a return of up to 5.8x the cost of BBB’s investment over a three-year period.
Following the Disposal, BBB’s remaining operations consist of its Australasian operations (SkyMesh Pty Limited) and its Nordics business (Bigblu Norge AS).
A fundamental responsibility of the Company is to deliver shareholder value, and, in this regard, the Board were delighted to return c.£25.9 million in cash to shareholders, equivalent to 45 pence per share, in October 2021. In addition, the Company was also able to use the cash received following the Disposal to repay its debt facilities in their entirety and secured a new RCF, with our lead banking partner Santander.
In addition to focusing on organically growing the business, the Board continue to pursue all options to deliver further returns to Shareholders from the Continuing Group and BBB’s retained equity interest in Quickline. We believe that we have placed BBB firmly on the front foot with a strong balance sheet for the short, medium, and longer term.
Total Continuing Group revenues for the year are expected to be approximately £27 million (FY20: LFL £23.6 million). Total Continuing Group adjusted EBITDA is expected to be c.£4.5 million (FY20: LFL £4.1 million). As at November 30th, total customers were approximately 60k.
The net cash position of the Group was approximately £5 million (FY20 £7.4 million net cash) having used c.£8.4 million of the consideration received on the Disposal to pay down debt in full and returned approximately £25.9 million to shareholders. The Group has also renegotiated a new £5 million revolving credit facility with Santander, which remains undrawn.
The Group has a very clear focus to continue to deliver shareholder value. It will seek to further grow its presence in Australia, where it is already the market leader, along with expansion into New Zealand. The focus for the Nordics is to revitalise the customer proposition having undertaken the upgrade project in 2021.
Overall, the Group’s financial performance has been robust despite the wider impact of the pandemic on the global business environment. Given the approach the Board has taken to ensuring that the Group can continue to service its customers and broaden the Company’s reach, the Board is delighted with the performance across the Continuing Group. The Board’s strategic focus will continue to be on maximising value and returns for shareholders.
SkyMesh continues to be the leading Australian satellite broadband service provider. As at November 30th, Skymesh had c.51k customers and continues to see strong growth opportunities, both organically and through acquisition. Having been named Best Satellite NBN Provider for three years in a row to 2021, SkyMesh continues to secure over 50 per cent market share of net new satellite adds under the NBN scheme as demand continues to grow for the Sky Muster Plus product. SkyMesh is seeing growth in the business sector after the release of a new business focused product by NBN and the Board are confident that this momentum will continue into 2022.
Having assessed the opportunity in this region, Bigblu continues to believe that, whilst the organic growth remains highly impressive, this growth could be accelerated by certain partnerships or acquisitions in the wider Australasia region. As announced earlier in the year, SkyMesh has signed an agreement with Kacific to provide services into New Zealand and will sign its first customers before the end of 2021.
In November 2021, SkyMesh also signed a conditional agreement to acquire the customers and assets of Clear Networks with completion expected later this month. Clear is an Australian ISP based in Melbourne offering the suite of NBNCo broadband products, as well as a private fixed wireless network serving primarily the greater Melbourne area. Bigblu has agreed an initial purchase price of up to AUS$2.4 million with a further maximum earn out capable of being earned up to AUS$0.5 milion with the earn out based on the total contract value of the sales pipeline delivered in the 12 months post Completion. Pro forma customers, revenue and adjusted EBITDA for Clear for the period to July 2021 were c2.2k, AUS$3.2 million and AUS$0.5 million respectively
BigBlu Norge has a large in country footprint and has historically delivered strong EBITDA and FCF. As indicated, the Group has been focused on improving the identified infrastructure (approximately 55 towers) to now offers speeds of up to 100 Mbps. As part of this process the Company demounted approximately 100 loss making sites and we ended the period on c.9k customers. The Group has a clear plan in place to diversify and improve its customer offering and routes to market that the Board are confident will deliver a return to customer growth.
Importantly BBB has started selling a new 5G Fixed Wireless product, offering speeds up to 500 Mbps following the signing of a distribution agreement with Telenor. This new 5G Fixed Wireless product was launched during Q4 2021 and allows the Company to complete its strategy of delivering the best broadband experience to all customers wherever they stand.
The Board continues to have confidence that the continued organic growth and balance sheet strength allied with the actions taken during the period in addition to the underlying improvements in cash generation will enable the Group to make further progress in the year ahead.
Andrew Walwyn, Chief Executive Officer of Bigblu Broadband plc, commented: “We have a clear direction of travel for our operations, with significant scope to generate further shareholder value as we take advantage of the various growth opportunities in each territory. It is clear to see the strong growth trajectory of the Continuing Group, which performed extremely well despite the wider market issues.”