Thursday 11th February 2021
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Telstra delivered 1H21 results showing the business building momentum towards growth in its underlying business. On a reported basis, total income declined by 10.4 per cent, EBITDA declined by 14.7 per cent and NPAT declined by 2.2 per cent. Underlying EBITDA declined by 14.2 per cent on a guidance basis with the two largest contributors to the decline being the estimated impact from the in-year nbn headwind of $370 million and estimated $170 million impact from COVID-19. Excluding these impacts, underlying EBITDA was broadly flat compared with 1H20. Income tax expense declined 60.3 per cent on a low effective tax rate associated with M&A and asset sales transactions as existing capital losses were used to offset capital gains. Excluding these oneoff impacts, our underlying effective tax rate was close to the statutory rate.
The execution of our T22 strategy continues with more than 80 per cent of the measures used to monitor progress against now delivered or on track for delivery. We reduced underlying fixed costs by $201 million or 6.6 per cent bringing the total underlying fixed cost reductions to around $2.0 billion since FY16 and have now increased our FY22 cost out target from $2.5 billion to $2.7 billion.
We exceeded our $2 billion asset monetisation target with proceeds going towards strengthening our balance sheet, and also announced a corporate restructure which will maximise optionality and provide greater flexibility to monetise our passive infrastructure assets, including our towers.
Our multi-brand strategy continued to deliver mobile SIO growth as we added 80,000 retail postpaid handheld mobile services including 22,000 from Belong, 46,000 retail prepaid handheld unique users, and 163,000 Wholesale services in the half. We continue to extend our 5G leadership with more than 50 per cent of the population now covered by our 5G footprint and we will reach more than 75 per cent of the population by the end of June 2021. Today we have around 1,000,000 5G devices on our network.
The Telstra Board resolved to pay a fully franked interim dividend of 8 cents per share, comprising an interim ordinary dividend of 5 cents and an interim special dividend of 3 cents. The Board also expects to pay a fully franked final dividend of 8 cents per share, bringing the total dividend for FY21 to 16 cents per share. Guidance was revised for total income ($23.2b-$25.1b to $22.6b-$23.2b), underlying EBITDA ($6.5b-$7.0b to $6.6b-$6.9b) and free cashflow after operating lease payments ($2.8b-$3.3b to $3.3b-$3.7b).
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