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United Group hails year of spectacular growth

South-eastern Europe region service provider United Group’s spate of acquisitions saw its annualised revenues almost treble in the year to March to close to €2 billion, with Bulgarian acquisition Vivacom the largest contributor to revenue and EBITDA by some margin.

Providing a trading update for 2020 and the first quarter of this year, United Group, which now has around 11 million revenue-generating units across the region, up 120% year-on-year, said revenue for 2020 increased by 56.5% to €1,161.3 million, from €741.8 million in 2019.

Revenue for the first quarter of 2021 increased by 126.5% to €439.4 million from €194.0 million in the first quarter of 2020.

Accounting for the full-year contribution of all the group’s acquired companies, the annualized revenues as of March 2021 amounted to €1,928 million.

In the first quarter of 2021, Vivacom generated 29% of Group revenues, followed by Telemach Slovenia at 14%, Greece’s Forthnet also at 14%, SBB Serbia at 13%, and Telemach Croatia at 10%. Telemach Bosnia and Herzegovina and Telemach Montenegro each contributed less than 5% of group revenue.

United Group recently unveiled a new strategy for Vivacom ithat includes a refresh of its brand and the introduction of the EON platform, the group’s flagship television and internet platform.

EBITDA meanwhile increased by 52.5% to €481.3 million in 2020, from €315.6 million in 2019, while Adjusted EBITDA in the first quarter of 2021 increased by 111.8% to €179.2 million. Ampong the most profitable units, Vivacom accounted for 34% of EBITDA, compared to 17% for Serbia’s SBB, 14% for media unit United Media and 13% for Telemach Slovenia.

Proforma for the acquisitions, annualized adjusted EBITDA as of March 2021 amounted to €763 million.

Viktoriya Boklag, United Group CEO, said: “2020 was one of the most transformative years in our history and 2021 looks to be equally important. Positive trends in turnover and EBITDA have continued throughout 2020 and into 2021. Our steady path of profitable growth was supported by key acquisitions that opened new markets to us and which are providing a foundation for United Group’s continued leadership in the region as a provider of both telecommunications and media services. We see significant opportunities for growth in each new market, as well as healthy synergies with the rest of the Group.”