Telefónica reported EBITDA that was below analyst estimates for the fourth quarter of 2015 because of several one-off costs that analysts said were not known in advance.
According to Jefferies International, EBITDA -- which Telefónica refers to as OIBDA -- was well below the consensus estimate of €764 million ($822 million) at €401 million because of various costs that had not been anticipated by analysts. These included a €325 million provision for the financing needs of Telefónica Foundation and a €30 million provision in Spain for restructuring distribution.
The company also posted an operating loss of €1.76 billion for the quarter, which was higher than consensus estimates of €1.36 billion. The net loss was €1.83 billion, down from a net income of €303 million a year previously.
Telefónica noted that the annual results and particularly those of the quarter were affected by various non-recurring impacts, and said a provision of €3.12 billion was booked in this regard.
There were some positive one-offs, however, including a €102 million E-Plus purchase price adjustment; €98 million from the 'expiration of account payable' in Brazil; €79 million from a Mexico spectrum swap; and €22 million from the sale of domestic real estate. Revenue in the fourth quarter was unchanged year-on-year at €11.88 billion, which Jefferies said was 0.5 per cent above consensus.
In 2015 as a whole, revenue increased 8.7 per cent in reported terms to €47.22 billion, while OIBDA was 17.2 per cent lower in reported terms at €11.41 billion. Group net income was 8.5 per cent lower at €2.74 billion. However, in underlying terms net income reached €5.78 billion, which was 29.7 per cent higher than in 2014.
In organic terms, a more positive picture is presented for 2015 as a whole, with revenue growth accelerating to 4 per cent year-on-year, OIBDA increasing 3.6 per cent -- boosted by the efficiencies stemming from the integration synergies in Germany and Brazil and the simplification program of the group -- while the operating cash flow in the year returned to growth of 1.9 per cent.
For 2016, the Spain-based operator expects to see group organic revenue growth of more than 4 per cent with a stabilisation of the OIBDA margin. The company remains broadly optimistic, with chairman and CEO César Alierta saying: "If 2015 has been a very positive year, in 2016 growth and data monetisation will accelerate, while we maximise the efficiencies from integration and simplification, and we boost our innovation and big data capabilities."
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