“FY19 has been a pivotal year for Telstra. Notwithstanding the intense competitive environment and the challenging structural dynamics of our industry, it is a year in which I believe we can start to see the turning point in the fortunes of the company from the changes we have embraced.”
– Andrew Penn, CEO
Here’s what you need to know about Telstra’s financial results for FY19.
Meeting financial guidance and market expectations
On a reported basis Total Income1 decreased 3.6 per cent to $27.8 billion, EBITDA decreased 21.7 per cent to $8.0 billion, and NPAT decreased 39.6 per cent to $2.1 billion. On a guidance basis2 Total Income1 decreased 2.6 per cent to $27.8 billion, EBITDA (excluding restructuring costs) decreased 11.4 per cent to $9.4 billion. Underlying EBITDA3 decreased 11.2 per cent to $7.8 billion.
The largest reason for the decline in EBITDA was the impact of the nbn. To date we estimate the nbn has adversely impacted EBITDA by approximately $1.7 billion since FY16, and we estimate we’re around 50 per cent of the way through the recurring financial impact of the nbn.
We had good momentum in our cost reductions program reducing underlying costs by $456 million in the year, which means we have achieved $1.17 billion in reductions since FY16 and are on track to achieve our $2.5 billion net cost reduction target by FY22.
Shareholders will receive a total fully-franked final dividend of 8 cents per share, comprising a final ordinary dividend of 5 cents per share and a final special dividend of 3 cents per share, to be paid on 26 September 2019.
Combined with the total interim dividend paid in February 2019, shareholders will receive a total dividend of 16 cents per share for FY19, taking the total returns paid to shareholders to more than $1.9 billion.
We continue to grow our customer base, adding more than 378,000 net retail postpaid mobile services and 107,000 net new fixed-line retail bundle and data services. These figures included strong contributions from Belong.
Our Internet of Things business grew by 19.4 per cent in revenue, exceeding industry growth rates. On average 2,000 ‘things’ are being connected to Telstra’s IoT network every day including vehicles, machines, infrastructure, smart meters and a wide array of other sensors.
T22: Delivering more for customers
In just over a year since we announced our T22 strategy – a major transformation enabling us to lead in a rapidly changing environment – we’ve simplified things for our customers and delivered new products and services.
We radically reduced the number of Consumer & Small Business plans in market – from more than 1800 plans to just 20 – and removed customer pain points, such as excess data charges in Australia on all new plans. By introducing simpler products and providing more ways for customers to self-serve, we reduced calls to our Consumer & Small Business call centres by 22 per cent with nearly 7.7 million fewer calls in FY19.
We launched Telstra Plus, our loyalty program rewarding customers for choosing to be with Telstra and by the end of FY19 more than 770,000 started earning points.
In the past financial year we became the only provider in Australia to commercially launch 5G services, and the first to put 5G devices in the hands of customers. We are rolling out 5G in 10 cities around Australia and expect our 5G coverage to increase in area almost five-fold to reach into at least 35 Australian cities in the next 12 months.
Telstra’s T22 strategy is built on the foundation provided by our strategic investment program announced in 2016 to create networks for the future and digitise the business.
Although the reported financial trends in FY19 were challenging, underlying trends, excluding the recurring in-year headwind of the nbn, are expected to improve over the course of FY20.
“Returning our business to growth will take time. However, I have great confidence that our strategy can arrest the decline in our earnings and create opportunities for growth.” – Andrew Penn, CEO
Today we are already a very different, much simpler and more customer focussed organisation than a year ago and are well-positioned for the next era – the 2020s.
More information is available on our Investor Relations website.
1 Excluding finance income.
2 This guidance assumed wholesale product price stability and no impairments to investments or core assets, and excluded any proceeds on the sale of businesses, mergers and acquisitions and purchase of spectrum. The guidance also assumed the nbn™ rollout and migration in FY19 was broadly in accordance with the nbn Corporate Plan 2019. The guidance was provided on the basis of AASB15. Capex was measured on an accrued basis and excluded expenditure on spectrum and externally funded capex.
3FY19 Underlying EBITDA excluded net one-off nbn DA receipts less nbn net cost to connect (C2C), and guidance adjustments.