Press Release 4 Q98 Tele Nordeste Celular En
Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Transcripts - Press Release 4 Q98 Tele Nordeste Celular En
Tele Nordeste Celular Thomson Financial IR
Mário Gomes Peter Firestein
220.127.116.1192 Isabel Vieira
Fabíola Almeida 212.701.1823
TELE NORDESTE PARTICIPAÇÕES S.A.
ANNOUNCES YEAR-END AND FOURTH QUARTER 1998 RESULTS
Brasília, Brazil (March 25, 1999) – Tele Nordeste Celular Participações S.A. (NYSE: TND)
(“Tele Nordeste,” or “The Company”), the holding company controlling the operating companies
serving Band A cellular telecommunication customers in the states of Piauí, Ceará, Rio Grande
do Norte, Paraíba, Pernambuco and Alagoas, announced today year-end 1998 as well as 4th
quarter 1998 results in accordance with Brazilian GAAP. The translation to US dollars has been
presented solely for the convenience of the reader. This translation should not be perceived as
representations that the reais amounts actually represent such US dollar amounts or could be or
could have been converted to US dollars at the rate indicated. The US dollar amounts have
been translated from reais at the commercial selling rate published by the Central Bank of Brazil
at December 31, 1998, which was R$1.21 to US$1.00.
Tele Nordeste’s net income for the year was R$104.2 million (US$86.1 million) or R$0.31
(US$0.26) per thousand shares, R$35.7 million (US$29.5 million) for the 4th quarter.
Consolidated net operating revenues for the year totaled R$469.6 million (US$388.1 million),
R$123.0 million (US$101.6 million) in the 4th quarter. The consolidated EBITDA and EBIT for
the year were R$235 million (US$194.2 million) and R$189 million (US$156.2 million)
respectively, representing 49% and 39% of net operating revenues.
Tele Nordeste’s management is proposing the distribution of annual dividends equivalent to
25% of the adjusted net income, after deducting 5% (R$5.2 million – US$4.3 million) for the
legal reserve for provisions. This represents total dividends of R$24.9 million, or R$0.074 per
thousand shares, part of which will be paid as interest on equity, as allowed by Brazilian
legislation. In accordance with the Company’s by-laws, R$87.1 million (US$72.0 million) is
being transferred from retained earnings to a statutory reserve.
The approval and payment date of the above mentioned dividend payment will be determined at
Tele Nordeste’s annual Shareholders’ Meeting to be held in April.
Select Consolidated Financial Data
The table below summarizes the consolidated revenues and cost of goods sold and service rendered
for the 4th quarter 1998 and for the year (in thousands of reais)
4th Quarter, 1998 Full Year
- Usage charges 85,004 314,475
- Monthly subscription payments 25,864 124,176
- Activation fees 2,075 9,067
- Network usage charges 33,986 131,584
- Sale of goods and other revenue 8,680 11,617
Subtotal 155,322 590,919
- Value added and other indirect taxes (32,237) (121,255)
Net Operating Revenue 123,085 469,664
Cost of goods and services
- Depreciation and amortization (12,635) (45,715)
- Personnel (910) (2,846)
- Material and services (22,068) (69.658)
- Fixed-line network expenses -- --
- Leases and insurance (14,225) (61,480)
- Fistel tax and other (2,620) (9,970)
Gross profit 70,627 279,995
Below are the most significant statistics for 1998 affecting operating revenues, compared with the
corresponding 1997 statistics:
Subscribers at December 31 (in thousands) 614 465
Growth from prior year-end 32.1% 38.7%
Estimated population of region (in millions) 25,8 25,8
Regional penetration (Tele Nordeste only) 2.4% 1.8%
Average monthly incoming minutes of use per
subscriber 130 91.7
Average monthly outgoing minutes of use per
subscriber 111 102.0
In addition, for 1998 the average revenue per user (ARPU), net of taxes, was R$ 70.41 per month.
In the 4th quarter 1998, Tele Nordeste’s subsidiaries started selling handsets to their customers,
offering lower prices through the negotiation of large orders with manufacturers. The total sales for
the year amounted to R$6.6 million (US$5.5 million). The cost of the handsets sold is included in
Material and Services, under Cost of Goods and Services. Also during the 4th quarter 1998, the
operating subsidiaries waived activation fees, in a special marketing effort to increase their customer
Depreciation and amortization in the 4th quarter already reflect investments made during the year.
The total consolidated operating expenses of R$130.4 million (US$ 107.8 million) include interest on
capital of R$31.4 million (US$ 26.0 million) and the write-off of bad debt, totaling R$35 million (US$
28.9 million) for the year. Bad debt, which represents 7.1% of gross revenues, includes accounts that
remained unpaid since 1994 and were not provisioned for before the creation of the operating
companies. Management believes that this expense will be reduced in the future.
Development of Tele Nordeste Celular
Tele Nordeste and its subsidiaries resulted from the restructuring of the Telebrás system, which
took place between January and May 1998. The subsidiaries were created on January 5, 1998,
as Band A operators in the states of Piauí, Ceará, Rio Grande do Norte, Paraíba, Pernambuco
and Alagoas, each resulting from the spin off of the telephone operator in each state. Tele
Nordeste was created on May 22, 1998, through the transfer of certain Telebrás assets and
liabilities, including the shares in Tele Nordeste’s subsidiaries, as follows (in percentage of each
class of shares and total capital):
Subsidiary State Common Preferred Total
Telepisa Celular Piauí 97.8761 69.0392 78.4751
Teleceará Celular Ceará 85.2802 76.1767 79.3080
Telern Celular R.G.do Norte 92.5718 67.5704 75.4192
Telpa Celular Paraíba 95.0804 60.9292 71.4990
Telpe Celular Pernambuco 95.0601 63.7236 77.2199
Telasa Celular Alagoas 97.3883 64.1331 77.6030
Tele Nordeste’s unconsolidated and consolidated financial statements for prior years were
calculated on a pro-forma basis. Therefore, comparable financial data for previous years is not
Concession Agreements and Regulatory Agency
On November 4, 1997, the Federal Government granted Tele Nordeste’s subsidiaries
concessions to provide Band A cellular telecommunications services. These concession
agreements can be renewed for consecutive 15-year periods by paying fees for the right to
provide cellular telecommunications service and use the associated radio frequencies.
The subsidiaries’ business, including the services they can provide and the maximum rates they
can charge, is regulated by Agência Nacional de Telecomunicações – ANATEL, the Brazilian
Telecommunications Regulatory Agency, in accordance with Law 9,472 of July 16, 1997 and
The Privatization of Tele Nordeste Celular
Tele Nordeste was privatized by the Brazilian Government on July 29, 1998. The acquiring
consortium, comprised of Bitel Participações S.A. and UGB Participações S.A., became the
new controlling shareholder of Tele Nordeste. Bitel is part of the Telecom Italia group of
companies and UGB is a partnership between the Globo and the Bradesco groups, both
After the privatization of Tele Nordeste, the new controlling shareholders as well as
management redefined the strategies of its operating subsidiaries. In this regard, Tele Nordeste
started a restructuring process aimed at improving service levels, productivity and efficiency. In
this process, and with the help of international consultants, the Company has taken steps to
centralize its administrative functions, begin the digitalization of its network (TDMA system), and
initiate new marketing objectives. Tele Nordeste’s main goal is to remain the market leader in
terms of number of subscribers, quality, coverage and service in all regions where its
The Band B operator, BCP Nordeste S.A. (formerly BSE S.A.), started its operations in the
region during the second half of the year with a fully digitalized network and smaller coverage.
We estimate that Tele Nordeste’s market share at the end of 1998 was approximately 83%.
Penetration in the region at the end of 1998 is estimated at 2.9%, compared to the penetration
within the country of approximately 4.3% (6.8 million subscribers).
In 1998, the subsidiary companies introduced a new mobile telephone service under the digital
TDMA system in the main cities of the region. Together, the operators expanded their client
base by a total of 149,000 subscribers, with the addition of 210,000 subscribers and the
disconnection of 61,000 subscribers. The population in this region totals 25.8 million inhabitants
and coverage of cellular mobile telephone service in the region is 67%.
The region covered by Tele Nordeste has an area of 635,490 square kilometers, representing
approximately 7.4% of the total area in Brazil. The region includes 24 metropolitan areas with
population in excess of 100,000 people, including the cities of Teresina, Fortaleza, Natal, João
Pessoa, Recife and Maceió.
The relevant states where Tele Nordeste operates are as follows:
Population % of Brazil’s % of Brazil’s income
State (in millions) population GDP (in Reais)
Piauí 2.7 1.7 0.7 1,868.0
Ceará 7.0 4.4 2.5 2,813.3
Rio Grande do Norte 1.6 1.6 1.0 2,013.0
Paraíba 3.3 2.1 1.1 2,398.5
Pernambuco 7.5 4.5 2.7 2,652.7
Alagoas 2.7 1.7 0.8 2,296.0
Total 25.8 16.1 8.8 2,340.3
The total debt of the subsidiaries at December 31, 1998, was R$116.4 million (US$96.2 million).
Of this total, R$97.6 million (US$ 80.7 million) was denominated in US dollars, with R$56.4
million (US$ 46.6 million) maturing in 1999. There was no hedging mechanism in place as of
December 31, 1998.
The bad-debt provisions of the subsidiaries represented 17% of trade accounts receivable at the
balance sheet date.
Tele Nordeste and its subsidiaries’ priorities include increasing network capacity and coverage as
well as improving the overall quality of their networks and services.
During 1998, consolidated investments of approximately R$ 167 million (US$ 138.0 million) were
made as part of the Company’s service expansion and modernization program, including the
partial digitalization of the network. Additionally, the subsidiary companies will focus on
improving their quality of service, the implementation of alternative marketing plans, and the
introduction of new services, continuously adapting to customer needs. Also, investments will be
made in information systems, for the purposes of improving productivity and obtaining greater
Operating Companies’ Services
The operating companies have met the goals set by Anatel with respect to quality and
During 1998, Tele Nordeste’s operating companies eliminated the pent-up demand in their
respective regions. Customer care service was extended to 24 hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week and
the number of agents and dealers was increased. Also, additional services were launched
including call forwarding and voice mail, among others.
Other Relevant Information
The number of Tele Nordeste’s employees at year end totaled 932, including full-time, trainees
and part-time employees, which represents a 208.6% increase in the number of employees since
the beginning of the Company’s operation. This growth was due to the absorption of activities
that were previously carried out by the fixed line telephone companies in each state.
Pension Plan and Retirement Benefits
The subsidiaries sponsor private defined pension plans that are administered by Fundação
Telebrás de Seguridade Social – SISTEL. The amount of retired employees’ supplementary
pensions are adjusted at the same time active employees of SISTEL sponsors receive pay raises
(at the same average rate.) In addition to the supplementary pension benefit, the plan provides
medical assistance and life insurance for retired employees and their dependents at shared cost.
Year 2000 Problem
Tele Nordeste’s subsidiaries use computer systems provided by the fixed line carriers from which
they originated. These fixed line carriers reported that their systems should be Year 2000
compliant by June 30, 1999.
Tele Nordeste’s management is finalizing approval of various system projects aimed at replacing
the computer systems currently provided by the fixed line carriers. The new systems will be
purchased from international companies, who have reported that they are fully year 2000
compliant. If necessary, Tele Nordeste and its subsidiaries will absorb the operation of the
current systems until the new systems are fully operational. The cost incurred to resolve the Year
2000 Problem has been absorbed by the fixed line carriers.
Research and Development
The Company and its subsidiaries cooperate with Telecommunications (is this what it’s called
now) Research and Development Center (CPqD) which, upon the Telebrás System
reorganization, became a non-profit organization run by all of the telephone operating companies
in Brazil. Therefore the subsidiary companies have full access to the telecommunications
software programs developed by the Center and to services such as equipment tests, consulting
Events Subsequent to December 31, 1998
In January 1999 the Brazilian Government changed its exchange rate policy and allowed the
exchange rate to float in a free market. As a result, the real has devalued by 53% since
December 31, 1998. The Company is not able to determine whether the exchange rate will
remain at current levels.
Some of the Tele Nordeste subsidiaries have US dollar denominated debt, totaling US$80 million
as of December 31, 1998. To date, the exchange variation on this debt has amounted to R$51.2
million, resulting in an expense allotted to the Company’s consolidated net equity, after taxes and
minority interest, of R$26.2million.
In January 1999 UGB Participações S.A. agreed to sell its stake in Tele Nordeste to Bitel
Participações S.A. The sale and purchase agreement was approved by Anatel and, when the
sale is finalized, Bitel will become the holder of 51.8% of the common shares of Tele Nordeste.
Bitel is part of the Telecom Italia group of companies.
New Brand Name
In March 1999, Tele Nordeste unified the brand name of the subsidiaries, by adopting “TIM” as
the new brand name throughout the region, thus replacing Banda A, Telasa Celular, Telpe
Celular, Telpa Celular, Telern Celular, Teleceará Celular and Telepisa Celular. The TIM brand
name will be promoted to convey a superior quality of Technology, Innovation and Mobility as
well as benefit from the support of its controlling shareholder, Telecom Italia Mobile.
In order to receive a copy of Tele Nordeste’s Notes to the Financial Statements, please call the
Company’s contacts found on page 1.
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