Successful and robust
2021 was a successful year. Not only from an operational perspective – characterised by the excellent performance of our networks – but also from a financial viewpoint. In that regard, we achieved all of our objectives. The result: a solid financial basis that enables us to implement our strategy successfully and turn our People Planet Progress (PPP) objectives into reality.
THE IMPORTANCE OF STRONG FIGURES
A healthy financial performance forms the very backbone of our company. It is a condition for everything we set out to achieve for our customers, our employees and for society. At the same time, it ensures that our company has sufficient investment power to retain its leading position, including in the long term.
Our financial performance is a reflection of our ‘health’ as an organisation and of the fact that the right priorities we have set are the right ones. This provides VodafoneZiggo with a firm foundation for sustainable growth and development.
OUR FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE
In 2021, we achieved all of our financial objectives for the fifth year in succession. Our total turnover was 2% higher than in the previous year. The growth in our turnover and the continued focus on cost control contributed to a 2% growth in EBITDA to 1.915 billion euros (2020: 1.877 billion euros).
This year, an increasing number of households once again chose to purchase our products and services. The number of ‘converged’ householders – households that are customers of both Vodafone and Ziggo – grew by 31,100, reaching a total of 1,489,500 (2020: 1,458,400). The number of converged SIM cards increased by 145,100 and came to a total of 2,472,900 (2020: 2,327,800). After achieving record growth in 2020, the growth in the number of mobile post-paid SIM cards decreased slightly in 2021, from 273,000 to 228,000. The number of internet customers decreased by 35,000.
INVESTING IN SPEED
Of our turnover, we reinvested 20.5% in our networks, our products, in optimizing our service provision and in digital transformation. Our focus in that regard lay upon new technologies, higher speeds and improved coverage. Meanwhile, almost three quarters of our customers can now opt for internet speeds of 1 Gbps, based on the DOCSIS 3.1 standard. Between now and the end of 2022, this will be 100%. In the past year, we also invested in Smart Wi-Fi pods in order to provide the very best Wi-Fi coverage. Since then, almost 1.2 million customers are now making use of that technology in their homes. Each of these initiatives resulted in increased customer satisfaction. In 2022, we intend to invest 22-24% of our turnover. The focus of our investment will be upon expanding our network capacity, the devices we deploy in customers’ homes and the roll-out of Smart Wi-Fi pods.
As part of our Sustainable Finance Framework, we issued our first sustainable bond loan to a total value of 2.1 billion euros. After issuing so-called ‘Green Bonds’ in 2020, we introduced innovative ‘Sustainability Linked Bonds’ in late-2021. In this way, we ensured that our funding strategy was directly linked to our goals with regard to People Planet Progress – to halve our CO2 emissions within the chain as a whole (Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions) by 2025 when compared to 2018.
Alongside the customary interest penalty if goals are not achieved, an incentive was also built in that would apply if we do in fact achieve our sustainability goals. This will be rewarded in the form of lower redemption costs. All of the savings thus generated will be reinvested in green and sustainable projects. For us, this innovative ‘carrot and stick’ approach forms an additional stimulus to achieve our sustainability goals. In this way, we introduced new and trendsetting financing conditions on the sustainable investments market.
PROVIDING A CRYSTAL-CLEAR INSIGHT
We set out to ensure that our reporting is as transparent as possible. That is why we are currently taking the necessary steps to ensure that our reporting is in line with the latest future obligations contained within the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSR-D). This integrated method of reporting provides stakeholders, but also ourselves, with an even greater insight into the state of affairs within our respective businesses.
In addition, our purchasing team is continuing to pursue its mission to make sure that the sustainability performance of our suppliers is as transparent as possible. This is something we are doing with the help of the independent consultancy, EcoVadis. In 2021, EcoVadis checked the environmental and social performance of just under 200 of our top 500 suppliers and subsequently added them to the system. In 2022, our aim is to make sure that the rest of our top 500 suppliers have also been assessed by EcoVadis. We also intend to become more sustainable within a short space of time. In this way, we are working to achieve greater transparency and are taking responsibility for our chain.
I am proud that we can build further on a sustainable capital structure. We recently issued €2.1 billion in bonds under a new sustainable finance framework. As a result, we are connecting our financing strategy directly to our climate ambition to reduce our CO2 emissions by 50%. In this way, we are investing in our ambition to become an increasingly sustainable company.
Chief Financial Officer