Swisscom’s net revenue was up by 2.4% or CHF 66 million at CHF 2,803 million, while operating income before depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) increased by 1.2% or CHF 13 million to CHF 1,124 million. The impact of COVID-19 on the financial results for the first quarter of 2021 was generally minimal. The consolidated net income of CHF 638 million was significantly higher than the previous year (+61.9% or CHF 244 million) due to non-recurring effects in the financial result. The main reason for this was a shareholding that Fastweb transferred as a capital contribution to the newly founded fibre-optic network company FiberCop as part of the strategic partnership with TIM. This resulted in a revaluation of the participation of CHF 169 million, which was recognised in the income statement. In addition, Swisscom realised a gain of CHF 38 million on the sale of its participation in Belgacom International Carrier Services. The financial outlook for net revenue and EBITDA has been increased for financial year 2021; the outlook for capital expenditure has been reduced.
In the Swiss core business, net revenue increased slightly by 0.7% or CHF 15 million to CHF 2,080 million. The increase was due to growth in sales of smartphones. However, ongoing competitive and price pressure continued to cause a decline in revenue from telecom services. Revenue at Italian subsidiary Fastweb increased by 7.0% or EUR 38 million to EUR 581 million, with all customer segments reporting revenue growth. The number of customers with Fastweb increased year on year by 4.0% to 2.8 million in the broadband business and by 16.1% to 2.1 million in mobile telephony. In the Swiss core business, EBITDA increased by 0.8% or CHF 7 million to CHF 916 million. The decline in revenue from telecom services and the higher costs of subscriber acquisition and retention were offset by ongoing cost-saving measures. At Fastweb, EBITDA rose in local currency by 5.3% or EUR 9 million to EUR 179 million, as a result of the growth in revenue.
Swisscom’s capital expenditure rose by 4.7% or CHF 24 million to CHF 540 million. In Switzerland, capital expenditure increased slightly by 1.1% or CHF 4 million to CHF 371 million. Capital expenditure on broadband networks increased, while investments in other infrastructure declined. At Fastweb, capital expenditure increased by 11.6% or EUR 16 million to EUR 154 million as a result of customer-driven investments and higher capital expenditure on the expansion of mobile telephony networks.
Operating free cash flow proxy declined by 2.1% or CHF 11 million to CHF 509 million owing to higher capital expenditure. Net debt fell by 10.7% or CHF 703 million compared with the prior year to CHF 5,849 million. The number of employees at Swisscom remained almost unchanged, at 19,077 FTEs (–0.2%). In Switzerland, headcount decreased by 2.3% or 382 FTEs to 15,975 FTEs.
The financial outlook for the 2021 financial year has been adjusted since the year-end report was issued on 4 February 2021. The revised financial outlook reflects current business performance, the higher-than-expected EUR exchange rate and the optical fibre partnership with Salt. Swisscom now expects net revenue of around CHF 11.3 billion, EBITDA of between CHF 4.3 billion and CHF 4.4 billion and capital expenditure of between CHF 2.2 billion and CHF 2.3 billion. If business develops as planned, Swisscom intends to propose to the 2022 Annual General Meeting an unchanged dividend of CHF 22 per share for the 2021 financial year.