Logo of jester cap with thought bubble.

Image source: The Motley Fool.

Millicom International Cellular SA (TIGO -1.72%)
Q1 2022 Earnings Call
Apr 28, 2022, 8:00 a.m. ET


  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:

Michel Morin

Hello, everyone, and welcome to our first quarter 2022 results conference call. Before we begin, please take a moment to review the safe harbor disclosure on slide two of the presentation, which is available on our website along with the earnings release. During the presentation we will be referencing non-IFRS measures. And we define these on slide three and we provide reconciliation tables to the nearest IFRS metric in the earnings release and on our website.

Finally, I would like to point out that the KPIs and income statement data and today's presentation exclude Honduras, because the country is not in our IFRS perimeter. And we now include Guatemala, which we fully consolidated since acquiring 100% last November. And in addition, after closing the sale of our Africa business earlier this month of April, we have moved it to discontinued operations and have represented the historicals to remove Africa. I'll now turn the call over to our CEO, Mauricio Ramos, for his prepared remarks.

10 stocks we like better than Millicom International Cellular SA
When our award-winning analyst team has a stock tip, it can pay to listen. After all, the newsletter they have run for over a decade, Motley Fool Stock Advisor, has tripled the market.* 

They just revealed what they believe are the ten best stocks for investors to buy right now... and Millicom International Cellular SA wasn't one of them! That's right -- they think these 10 stocks are even better buys.

See the 10 stocks

*Stock Advisor returns as of April 7, 2022

Mauricio Ramos -- Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Michel. Good morning and good afternoon, everyone. Thank you for joining us today to discuss our first quarter results. We started the year on a very, very strong note, operating and financial results are ahead of our plans.

We also continue to make meaningful progress on our purpose-driven commitment to build digital highways that connect people, develop communities, and improve lives in the countries where we operate. The short video that you just saw is a strong testimony to that. A few weeks ago we flipped the switch to connect the communities in Panama, which had never had access to mobile data before. a couple of weeks ago to review progress and the build of new sites that will bring data connectivity for the first time ever to over 100,000 individuals.

All of these also makes our brand even closer to the communities we operate in, purpose and brand working together. Now, let's go over the key highlights of the quarter starting on slide five. First, we continue to sustain very strong customer growth across all our lines of businesses and in all our countries. Second, we continue to convert that customer growth into very strong service revenue growth of 4.6%.

Third, we're now fully and finally out of Africa. We are now a geographically and strategically focused provider of broadband services in Latin America, exclusively. And fourth, we continue to make progress on our ESG initiatives. It's a really strong start to the year, so let's begin with our customer intake on slide six.

In short, our customer base continue to grow at a rapid pace. On the left, you can see our postpaid mobile business. We added 320,000 postpaid subscribers in the quarter. This is our third consecutive quarter with more than 300,000 .

As a result, our postpaid customer base is up 27% year on year and is now approaching 6 million subscribers. This is because Colombia is now hitting on all cylinders. And on the right is our home business. We added another 74,000 fiber cable customers in the quarter.

Our fiber cable customer base is now more than 4 million, up 8% Over the last 12 months. Our net adds continue to grow at this very strong pace, because there's continued and pent-up demand for broadband services across our footprint because we stayed close to our customers during the pandemic, providing basic love and service when it was needed, protecting our customers, and also enhancing the closeness of our brand. And because we stayed on the streets selling, servicing, doing network maintenance and upgrading, modernizing and enlarging our network, as a result our brand strength has improved, and customers are preferring that very same brand. Now, please turn to slide seven to see the conversion of that customer growth into service revenue growth.

The main and key message on this page is simply that for a third consecutive quarter, every country and every business unit grew service revenue organically. The business is today stronger and healthier than ever across the board in every country and in every line of business. Revenue grew a healthy 4.6% in the quarter. This is consistent with our medium-term plans and it is even a bit better than we had budgeted internally, particularly if you consider that Q1 last year was very strong.

The key highlight on this page is our B2B business, which continues to recover and grow 5% in the quarter. You may recall that we had repeatedly said B2B would be the last to recover from the effects of the pandemic. It is now beginning to do so. Q1 posted our fastest growth in more than three years in B2B, not only because of the recovery, but more importantly because of our revamped strategic focus in this area, which we started some years ago.

I will touch on this again later. Service revenue growth for home, our fiber cable business, was 5% in Q1. Growth this year will strengthen and ended toward the second half of the year as we accelerate our build programs throughout the year, as you will see in a minute. The other key highlight of the quarter is Colombia, which continued to accelerate, hitting 8% revenue growth in Q1.

So let's look at Colombia on this next slide. In short, Q1 was an exceptional quarter in Colombia with another quarter of a spectacular postpaid net adds of 260,000. We have now added 1 million postpaid subscribers in Colombia over the past 12 months. This is 50% growth in the postpaid base in a year, driving mobile revenue growth in Colombia 17% year-on-year.

As you know, we have invested with strategic focus to get here. The news is that it is working and where coverage and quality is at its best ever. We're adding subscribers, customer satisfaction is high, we're gaining share and revenue is increasing with margins now beginning to expand. And please note that Q1 is our toughest comp for 2022.

Comps actually get easier in Q2 and Q3, given that the competitive dynamics change in Colombia exactly one year ago, and also because the largest part of the investments to deploy the network, increase the commercial distribution network and enhance our service patterns are largely behind us now. Said differently, we are where we want it to be, not only fending off the new competition, but harnessing the new market dynamic to grow our own business. Now, as you also know, the game is far from over. There's still a lot of work for us to do, and we still need to invest for further growth because we still need to achieve the scale that we need in order to sustain adequate levels for profitability in the long term in Colombia.

The good news is that we are on track. And because of that and before I move on, I wish to acknowledge the clarity of vision, the spirit, the determination and above all, the bold Sangre Tigo culture that Marcelo Cataldo, our GM in Colombia and the entire Colombia team are deploying. I know they're listening to this call as they usually do, and this is their work. So a big thank you to the entire Columbia team.

Now, let's talk about home business on slide nine. In Q1, we added another outstanding 74,000 net customers. We are well on track to our target of more than 1 million net adds in the next three years. Indeed, we continue to build a strong residential fiber cable broadband business, what we call our home business that is now $1.6 billion in revenue, has over 4 million residential subscribers and passes about 12 million homes.

During the pandemic, we focused on increasing network penetration, and the results today speak for themselves. Network penetration is now 34%. This makes the business more profitable and further proves the business case. And there is still room for penetration rates to grow.

Many of our more mature nodes have penetrations of well over 40%, and the new ones are reaching their penetration levels just as we expect. So with so much demand for residential broadband, we are reaccelerating our network expansion. Just as we indicated, we would do it during our investor day earlier this year. So you can see on the right, we have now ramped up our building activity to a run rate of 600,000 homes.

With this, we're tracking toward our target of around 1 million homes built per year. We're also on track for about 50% of our new builds to be fiber to the home this year. And for effectively all the new builds to be fiber-to-the-home going forward after that. Said even more simply, home remains really on track.

Let's move on to B2B on slide 10. So you'd like to recall, we told you at the investor day that we have been executing on our strategy to accelerate our growth in B2B. You also likely recall that we thought this segment would be the hardest hit by the pandemic and the slowest to recover. During the pandemic, we stayed close to our customers' base, and we protected it while we continue to develop that new strategy.

That strategy has a number of key elements: a more focused, including a defined customer segmentation approach, simplifying and streamlined product set, which is anchored on high-speed connectivity and cloud and digital services and for which we have both invested internally to develop our own deep technical and marketing capabilities, and also developing important partnerships with companies like Amazon and Microsoft to support our capabilities, complement the needs of our customers and leverage the investments we have made in our own network infrastructure, including our B2B fiber and the 13 state-of-the-art tier three data centers that we have built over the last few years. As a result of this increased focus, we've been adding customers every quarter, especially in the fast-growing SME customer segment in which we have placed particular focus. With the pandemic now ebbing, our B2B segment is starting to strengthen our top line growth. B2B was up 5% in the quarter, right in line with our long-term ambition.

Let's turn our attention now to TigoMoney on slide 11. We're making some important strategic progress. We told you just a couple of months ago that our strategy and product mark are in place and that our management team and our development teams are also in place and that we are now squarely in execution mode. In short, we're right on track with our long-term plan.

Our customer TigoMoney base is up 17% year-on-year. We are ramping up digital customer intake. We're rapidly increasing merchant acquisitions across the board. We have now relaunched Tigo Guatemala, which is an important market for us, and we have secured all the necessary regulatory approvals to launch in Panama, another important market in the next few months.

Given the potential we see, we're happy to continue to make the digital investments required to capture the long-term value of this opportunity. Even if this means as it does short-term pressure on our OCF this year. What we need to do is explain to you that this is going on and why it makes so much sense for us to continue to make these investments. Now, please turn to slide 12 for a bit of a big picture update.

At the end of the quarter, we closed the sale of Tanzania. Yes, with this transaction, we are now out of Africa, as planned and as promised. And with this and with the full ownership and consolidation of Guatemala, we are now a clean and focused Latin American only business with clear geographical and strategic direction. With the small exception of Honduras, we are now also a full consolidator of all of our businesses, which means you can see our true revenue growth, our high profitability, our growing operating cash flow and even our positive earnings per share and strong all-in equity free cash flow, plus our earnings release is about 10 pages shorter by the way, these days, which means it can be more easily understood.

Equally important is that our journey out of Africa has freed up capital and allowed us to focus capital and management resources to Latin America. This has allowed us to make important investments to enter Panama and Nicaragua and to increase our ownership in Guatemala, and all of these have been great capital allocation moves. In these three countries, in all of them, we have the No. 1 position.

They're all healthy to player markets. They all have growth and strong cash flow margins, and they all have helped us increase our exposure to countries that are growing economies and stable currencies. Panama is an investment grade and dollarized economy. Guatemala will grow GDP over 4% this year and the quetzal remains one of the world's strongest currencies.

Nicaragua remains one of our fastest-growing businesses, as you saw this quarter on the back of strong and growing flow remittances. These investments are becoming key pillars to our equity free cash flow story for the next years to come. As we reiterated at our investor day, we are a purpose-driven and ESG-focused business. Both things define who we are and both things give us a competitive advantage.

As you also know, we have now submitted our science-based climate targets. We expect those targets to be validated later on in the year. And we are, of course, already implementing action plans that will allow us to deliver on those commitments. About 30% of our capex budget this year is earmarked for products that not only have strong returns but will also help us improve energy efficiency and carve-out emissions.

We've also continued to move forward with all our ESG programs. And in that regard, we're happy and proud to report that we were highly recognized once again in the most recent Great Place to Work survey in Latin America. We now rank No. 5 in Central America across all companies and in both industries, and we rank in the top five in eight of our nine countries.

This is not only great ESG accomplishment and a source of pride to all employees, but it also positions us to continue to attract the best talent across the board in all our markets. On that note, let me turn it over to Sheldon to go over the financials in detail for the quarter.

Sheldon Bruha -- Chief Financial Officer

Thank you, Mauricio. Let me now take you through the Q1 numbers. As a reminder, and as Michel mentioned at the beginning of the call, the way we present our financials is changing this quarter with the acquisition and consolidation of Guatemala and the sale of Africa. As a result of both these changes, we will now focus your attention on the performance of the group, which includes all of our operations, except Honduras, of which we own 67% but account for under the equity method in a reporting under IFRS standards.

Let's start on slide 15 with service revenue, which was $1.3 billion in the quarter. That's an increase of 37% year-on-year due to the Guatemala acquisition. Excluding the acquisition and adjusting for FX movements, organic growth was 4.6%, which is consistent with the mid-single-digit medium-term growth target that we have communicated at our recent investor day. Our mobile business grew 4% and contributed more than half of the overall growth in the quarter, and almost all of that came from postpaid, which grew more than 9% year-on-year.

This solid performance in mobile is a direct result of the additional investments we've made in our networks and spectrum over the past couple of years, especially in Colombia, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Panama. Our fixed business grew at 4.8%, and that reflects the 5.3% growth in home that Mauricio mentioned, as well as a 3.6% growth in the fixed part of our B2B business. Finally, you can see the FX detracted from reported growth this quarter, largely due to the Colombian peso, which strengthened at the very end of the quarter but was about 8% weaker on average compared to a year ago. Drilling down further on slide 16 to the service revenue performance by country, once again, every country performed better in Q1 than they did last year.

Standout performances were from El Salvador and Nicaragua, which grew about 10% each, with all three business lines performing well in these two countries. Colombia had a very solid quarter with growth of 7.8%, with our mobile business up almost 17%, and that's coming mostly from the very strong postpaid net adds that Mauricio mentioned, which is driving ARPU up almost 4% in local currency. Paraguay and Panama both had solid mid-single-digit growth with both seeing stronger trends in mobile than in fixed. Guatemala had a slower growth in Q1, but this was actually in line with our expectations for the quarter.

As most of you know, our Guatemala business continued to grow throughout the pandemic. So the comparisons in mobile were tougher in Q1. And as we flagged in our Q4 call, Guatemala is a country where the global chip shortage has had a bit of an impact on our handset sales, and this drives new customer activations. This situation is gradually returning to normal, and we expect mobile growth to show improvement in the second half.

But again, the key point here is that we had expected Guatemala would have a slower start to the year, and this was already reflected in our plans for the year. Meanwhile, growth in home and B2B in the country was very solid in the quarter and the broader economic conditions in Guatemala are good with GDP expected to grow 4% and with inflation of around 4.5% according to April forecast from the IMF. Finally, in Bolivia, the situation hasn't really changed. Our mobile business continues to see ARPU pressure due to price competition, and we are mitigating this impact by expanding our fixed business as quickly as we can.

As you know, we had slowed our build activity during the pandemic, and we are now in the process of ramping our build machine here. We continue to see very strong penetration in these new nodes that we are installing, and we are hitting 20% penetration much sooner than what we had assumed in our investment case. So we're looking to accelerate our planned investments here. Turning to EBITDA on slide 17.

EBITDA of $564 million was up 56% year on year due to the consolidation of Guatemala. Organically, EBITDA was just slightly positive as we reinvested the revenue growth into our TigoMoney fintech business and into customer acquisition, mostly in our Columbia business. This is actually right in line with the plan for the year, and most of these investments are now behind us, and the comparisons start getting easier in Q2, especially in Colombia. Also impacting the year-on-year comparison were lower than usual levels of bad debt provision and incentive management compensation in Q1 of 2021, which both normalized in 2022.

I would point out that taking all the above into account, our EBITDA margin for the group was a healthy 40% for the quarter and a sequential increase from the margin in Q4. Now, looking closely at the EBITDA performance by country on slide 18, leading the pack in the quarter was Paraguay, up 9%, with a margin of 46%, and this good performance is a result of operating leverage after four consecutive quarters of positive revenue growth, driven in large part by an improving pricing environment in our mobile business. El Salvador, Panama, and Nicaragua delivered solid mid-single-digit growth as we have come to expect from these countries. As I mentioned earlier, Colombia continues to be impacted mostly by increased sales and marketing expenses to support that accelerated customer growth over the past year, and we will start to lap that increased marketing spend in Q2.

EBITDA in Colombia was also impacted by the in-sourcing of a network services contract that was not renewed and from the impact of a government-mandated 10% increase in minimum wages in January as that country is seeing higher inflation than in most of our other markets. But despite these cost challenges, the EBITDA margin in Colombia grew on a sequential basis this quarter, reflecting our ability to find savings to offset the decreased operating costs. Guatemala was up only slightly, basically in line with the service revenue growth, which I just discussed, while Bolivia and Honduras were down about 3%, and both markets are seeing heavy competition in mobile, which is impacting ARPU. Higher energy costs are also having an impact in many countries, but so far we've been able to offset that impact with savings in other areas.

As a reminder, energy costs represent about 2% of sales across our markets. Moving to slide 19. You can see how our operating cash flow, that is EBITDA less capex compared to the previous year. Operating cash flow of $365 million in Q1 was up 51% year-on-year due to Guatemala.

Organically, it was down 7.6%, and that's because of phasing of our capex for the year. As most of you know, the timing of capex spend can change a lot quarter-to-quarter. So the first quarter of the year doesn't always give you a good indication of how the year is trending. Last year, capex was heavily weighted toward Q4.

This year, we're planning our capex spend to be more equally spread than in years past as we are accelerating our revenue-generating projects as much as possible to more quickly benefit from them within the year. The key message here is that we are on track with our plans for the year. In fact, our service revenue, EBITDA and operating cash flow were all ahead of our budgets in Q1. We continue to target 2022 capex of around $1 billion, as discussed at the investor day, and we're on track toward our operating free cash flow growth target of 10% on average over the next three years.

Finally, let me close on the leverage situation on slide 20. During the quarter, we were active in debt capital markets, issuing a new five-year sustainability bond for SEK 2.25 billion, which we immediately swapped into U.S. dollars. The proceeds will fund climate and social project categories in accordance with our framework.

Our Guatemala business also issued a new 10-year $900 million bond, and the proceeds were used to repay a significant portion of the bridge loan used to acquire the remaining 45% of that business. As of the end of the quarter, we had $450 million remaining on the bridge, but we used the proceeds of Africa to pay that down to $350 million as of today. As you can see on the slide, our equity free cash flow was negative $69 million in the quarter, which reflect usual seasonal patterns in our working capital and capex spending. Our net debt declined by $90 million during the quarter.

That largely reflects the disposal of our Africa business, which was discontinued in the quarter. That sale took place in August 5th, after the end of Q1. So our net debt and leverage metrics at the end of March do not yet reflect the cash proceeds of about $100 million that we received from that sale. We also continue to move forward with our plans to complete a $750 million rights offering, and you should have seen that earlier today, we announced the ex-rights date of May 12.

We plan to use proceeds to pay off the remaining $350 million of the bridge and for general corporate purposes, including repayment of debt, liabilities and other obligations. Adjusting for both the African disposal proceeds received in April and for the rights offering, we ended with leverage of 3.09 times or 2.96 times if we exclude the impact of leases, and we reiterate our target of leverage to be below three times by the end of the year. And with that, I'll turn the call back over to Mauricio to wrap up.

Mauricio Ramos -- Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Sheldon. Before we take your questions, let me recap the key highlights for the quarter. First, we had another strong quarter in terms of customer growth, especially in postpaid and B2B. Second, we're ramping up our home fiber build, and we expect this will drive faster growth in home in the second half of the year.

Third, service revenue growth of 4.6% in Q1 is right in line with the medium-term targets that we outlined at the investor day, and we're getting the customer growth we need to sustain this level of growth going forward. Fourth, we continue to win in Colombia, as you can see from our very strong postpaid mobile performance over the past year and this is helping us to transform our overall business in our country. And fifth and finally, we continue to make significant progress on all the commitments we made to you at the recent investor day. And in case you have already foregone, let me remind you of the press release that we published with all the key commitments we have made, as you can see on slide 23.

Here it is, once again al in one page. Eight commitment that will generate and unlock significant shareholder value. If you haven't done so already, take a digital photo or print a press release and bring it to our meetings. This is what the plan is.

Hold us accountable to deliver it. The message today, the key message today is that we are squarely on track to deliver on all of these key initiatives. It's a great start of the year. It's a great start toward these initiatives.

We're now ready for questions.

Michel Morin

All right. Thank you, Mauricio. We will now move to the Q&A session of the call. If you would like to ask a question, please remember to send us an email at investors.millicom.com, and we will add you to the queue.

With that, we'll take our first question from Marcelo Santos from J.P. Morgan. Marcelo?

Marcelo Santos -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

Sorry. I hope you can hear me. First question I wanted to ask was about the competitive environment in Colombia, but not on no bio side, but on the fixed side, yesterday, we heard Merca [Inaudible] make a comment that the broadband environment has deteriorated. So I wanted to hear your views on that.

And the second is also the competitive environment in Paraguay. There was a sale of one of your mobile competitors. And also, wanted to understand how is in the fixed side against Telecom Argentina. Thank you.

Mauricio Ramos -- Chief Executive Officer

All right. So let's start with Paraguay, because I think Paraguay is a country where for a bit of time, you heard us say that we had all the good goodies and all the voice to really perform there. The spectrum that we bought earlier on, the network buildout that we need, the soccer and content part of it and a state-of-the-art position, both in fixed and mobile. And some years ago, maybe we put in a new team in place, putting a very, very strong customer-driven strategy.

We reworked our product. And what you see today is that we're growing quite well in Paraguay. We've continued to secure the soccer rights; we've continued to build and penetrate network in Paraguay and the fixed side. And mobile has started to come back.

And as a result of all of that, you see Paraguay now for at least a couple of quarters back to growth. So Paraguay is a market where I think we got it right, Marcelo, quite honestly, after a little bit, and it is one of our high performers today, with the benefit addition or the additional benefit that it is one of our really good cash flow performance. It's got high margins, phenomenal market position today, better product mix and better competitive pricing, and we're certainly not only withstanding but thriving in Paraguay. Now, a little bit of context going forward.

As you know, Paraguay is where our TigoMoney product is the most advanced where we tried it the most. So Paraguay will become a testing pool for us to see what else we can do with TigoMoney. And we would only do that if we felt that we got everything else in place as we feel we do. So now we're asking the Paraguay team to focus on TigoMoney as well to see where we can move forward.

Colombia as you can see, and again, I got to go back a few years, right, because this is not a quarter story. This is a continued story, right? Just a year ago on this call, we were also crumbling to figure out whether Tigo was a challenger or Tigo as a defender. And we quite frankly told you, this is it for us. We're a challenger in this market.

Finally, we have an opportunity. We've got a we got the network, we had the team deployed. We're going to invest for this. And you see that on mobile, it is working.

It really is working. We're getting all the subscribers. We're not only fending off the competition, as I said on the call, but actually growing in this very marketplace. Fixed in Colombia, big picture, right, on what's going on in Colombia.

We are the second largest fiber cable network in Colombia, increasing penetrations, as you saw. We're building in Colombia in areas where we think there's greenfield great opportunities in Colombia. And there is indeed a little bit more price competition in the market. But we are growing through that.

If you look at our fixed growth in Colombia is still pretty healthy, and we continue to bring in the customers. Two key things because I'm sure it's on your mind, Marcelo, two key things. We will have access to the Bogota market going forward because the fiber in Bogota, which we don't own, is being opened up. The players in Bogota of fiber are opening it up.

We are the natural tenant, if you will, for that fiber. Remember, we're not really in Bogota. So that's an upside that we have that the market doesn't really have, something that, as you know, we've been expecting for a long time. And while we are in the Colombia context, we're beginning to see a very interesting move toward more and more broadband-only place.

This happens mostly in Colombia, but everywhere else. And we actually think that's a good thing, Marcelo. You've seen it happen in the U.S. We've been positioning ourselves for that with our supermarket of content, Amazon, Netflix, Deezer, and everything that we have.

And what we're beginning to see is an environment in which those broadbands only come with lower aperture, right, better margins and lower capex. So they're actually accretive to our OCF. And I think we're the best positioned in that broadband fixed market because we've got the mobile as well. So it becomes a true moment of broadband, fixed and mobile on which we can layer high-margin content supermarket on top of that.

If I missed anything, let me know.

Marcelo Santos -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

Perfect. No. Thank you very much.

Michel Morin

Thank you, Marcelo. Our next question is coming from Soomit Datta at New Street Research. Soomit?

Soomit Datta -- New Street Research -- Analyst

Yes. Hi, guys. Thanks for letting me ask a question. A couple, please.

First of all, on Panama, we've had an announcement from Digicel, who were looking to exit the market. It'd be great to get your perspectives on that. I think also specifically, is there any opportunity to pick up either infrastructure assets or spectrum, which may become available? Do you know what the process is in that market when an operator hands back or essentially shuts down the business? Any steer on that would be great. Maybe I'll start with that question, please and then follow-up with another one.

Mauricio Ramos -- Chief Executive Officer

Panama, for us, has been one of the better investment decisions we've taken, if not the best over the last the years have been around. You know the story Soomit. It's a dollar economy. Our business plan had buying into fixed, defending, sustaining, growing fixed.

We've done that really, really well. We continue to grow on fixed. But on top of that, layering cross-selling into mobile, which we have done. So overnight, we become -- overnight -- now it's two or three years, but we become the No.

1 player in Panama on a dollar economy with -- you saw the margins that we're driving already. In our minds, long term, Panama is a small market with fairly developed telecom infrastructure origin and our main competitors. So it is a healthy subscriber focused investment country. So in that regard, we always imagine that it would long term become close to a two-player market.

So where the Digicel stays on or doesn't stay on, it really doesn't significantly change what we thought was and what we are delivering on. Our focus in Panama as elsewhere, to be very honest with you, is largely organic. We don't want to stack ourselves with picking these or that up because we're driving the brand. We're being preferred by customers.

We're driving volume, sustaining ARPU. So we want to stay very, very focused organically. And in addition to that, I think you may have seen this, the Government of Panama has released a really reasonable prices, AWS spectrum, which we'll be picking up. I think we're in the process of buying it and acquiring it.

So we picked up the spectrum that we need. And Panama has historically had a really good spectrum policy, which is parity of spectrum for everybody. And we think that is a really, really good spectrum policy going forward. Predetermined prices, reasonable prices, spectrum parity, so quite frankly that's a good setup.

Nothing that needs to be disrupted there.

Soomit Datta -- New Street Research -- Analyst

OK. That's really helpful. Thank you. And a follow-up question, please, just a bit more detail, maybe it's one for Sheldon.

But on the corporate costs, so again, when we just simply kind of top up the individual country EBITDA and then compare that to the headline, the new IFRS headline EBITDA, the corporate cost seems to be around $35 million, if I've done that correctly. I thought that was going to be running at near $50 million going forward. And presumably that was going to be where some of the expected money cost was going to be booked as well. So do you mind just helping clarify if I misunderstood is there anything happening within this quarter, please?

Sheldon Bruha -- Chief Financial Officer

Yes. I think you have misunderstood there. I think we should come back with Michel and Sarah just on some of the calculations. That number should be probably closer to $45 million and $35 million, if you do the math right.

And we would have the -- we did have the TigoMoney investment consistent to what we talked about with Q4. So there was just a roundabout just under $10 million of investment in TigoMoney in the quarter, consistent kind of with what we're expecting for the full year, about $40 million over the year kind of spend out on that basis.

Soomit Datta -- New Street Research -- Analyst

OK. That's great. Thanks, Sheldon.

Michel Morin

All right. Thanks, Amit. So we'll take our next question now from Vitor Tomita at Goldman Sachs. [Operator instructions] Vitor, the floor is yours.

Vitor Tomita -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Hello. Good morning, everyone, and thanks for taking our questions. So two questions from our side. The first one, you touched on it briefly during the call, but could you give us some more color on the current general environment and the heavier competition in Bolivia and Honduras? And the second question from our side would be as you improve cash flow and as you take strategic measures to raise additional cash, like the tower carve-out, potential TigoMoney carve-out, rights offering, do you see any room in the medium term for further acquisitions of remaining stakes in businesses or for entering new markets? Thank you.

Mauricio Ramos -- Chief Executive Officer

All right. Thank you, Vitor. Lots in there. Bolivia, first, is a market that with the exit of Trilogy or the sale of Trilogy into what's effectively an unknown new player there seems to be going increasingly toward a two-player market, which I think is a good development.

So over the quarter, you have had Panama and Bolivia consolidate further into two-player markets. And I think that's generally a rational good for the local economy trend because two stronger players can invest more and can do so in a more sustainable manner. In Bolivia, as you know, the competitor is state-owned and their policy of competition seems to be wide, which volume and low pricing is a strategic outcome. As a result of that, and this is a matter of public knowledge, the finances of the state-owned company continue to be pressured.

So medium term, long term, we believe there's going to have to be a balancing act in the competitive nature of that market today, all the while by the way, , the long-term finances of the state-owned entity have to come into play with a more long-term balance investment base capacity. I'm saying that in a very diplomatic manner because I think that's what the long-term outcome there is. And that's what's going to secure that the country continues to invest in the infrastructure needs. In addition to that, Bolivia is largely highly competitive, as you see today on pricing on mobile.

But in the meantime, we continue to grow really healthily on fixed. And we've continued to deploy our fixed network in fixed, which increasingly gets really good penetration. As a matter of fact, we wish we had been able to build a little bit faster in Q4 and Q1, but we're ramping up in Bolivia to underpin and strengthen the growth in Bolivia. So overall, I think Bolivia is a healthy, sustainable investment place for us to continue doing what we're doing, even if we have to go through this mobile pricing moment.

Honduras, I think, is the one country where just like -- remember El Salvador two years ago, Paraguay, where we said we got to get it right. I was in Honduras a couple of weeks ago, reviewing our plans. And I am now quite comfortable that we're going to get it right in Honduras. It's a top layer market.

It's one in which we've done all the things that you would have expected us to do. So we are modernizing the network, investing a little bit -- this is a mobile network, by the way. Investing a little bit more in cable, streamlining our product offering. And although you can't really just quite see it in the financials this quarter, you do see it in the subscriber counts that Honduras is becoming better.

And remember, this is a market where we have a very strong position and strong cash flow. So it reminds me a little bit of Paraguay two to three years ago. So just hold your breath, sit down and Honduras will turn around. TigoMoney, as I said on the prepared remarks, we are hitting all the goal posts that we wanted to hit.

In terms of the carve-outs, I may just as well use your question to update everybody that we are on track in terms of preparation for those, bringing in advisors, doing all their proprietary work. So all of those things are moving along just as we expected. We got advisors for both projects, both on the investment banking side and on the accounting side. We've got management teams in place.

And of course, TigoMoney is, as you've seen already in execution mode and doing so quite well. And lastly, because there was just a handful of questions, Vitor. On M&A, as we said during the investor call, we're not on M&A mode. We are in operational mode.

We've got this amazing, really good, strong operating performance on the top line. We want to use our momentum to bring it down with operating leverage into EBITDA growth and operating cash flow growth back ended this year because we believe we're completely on track to deliver 10% operating cash flow growth on average for the next three years. That's not back ended totally. It starts with getting closer to that goal this year.

The point I'm making Vitor that we're very operationally driven. So we're not focused on expansive M&A. Now, we may need to react to minorities, etc., but that would be reactive in nature, not proactive in nature.

Vitor Tomita -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Very clear. Thank you very much for the answers.

Michel Morin

Good. Thanks, Vitor. So next, we're going to go to Andres Coello at Scotiabank. Andres?

Andres Coello -- Scotiabank -- Analyst

Yes. Hello, guys. Can you hear me?

Michel Morin


Andres Coello -- Scotiabank -- Analyst

Good. Thank you. Regarding the equity free cash flow during the quarter, there was a negative equity free cash flow by $69 million. And I guess this was better than the $183 million a year ago, right? There was an improvement in terms of the negative equity free cash flow.

But it seems far from guidance, which is, as you said, $800 million to $1 billion in the next three years. So I'm just wondering, for 2022, what you are expecting, what you are thinking in terms of equity free cash flow or how you're going to turn from this minus $69 million to a positive number throughout the year? That's my first question. And my second question, if you can just give us a general update on the infrastructure sale perhaps a little bit on timing when you will expect this to happen. Thank you very much.

Mauricio Ramos -- Chief Executive Officer

All right. I'm making everybody uncomfortable by starting to answer this question because we have this rights offering, and frankly, I cannot give you 2022 numbers, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. So you can see that I'm all sweating, because I'm going to give you that. So I'm going to pass it over to Sheldon so they don't sweat about it.

We've already said that we are ahead of our internal budget on revenue, EBITDA and operating cash flow. I think we said that loud and even Sheldon said in his prepared remarks. So that gives you an idea that we're on track. Equity free cash flow on a given quarter is a large result of how much capex we spent in that year.

So we're a 12th order period, which is a three-year period, it really shouldn't be indicator of what's going to happen ultimately. What I can tell you on thesis we are squarely on track on all the operating metrics, revenue, EBITDA, OCF ahead of our internal budgets in all countries. I even thought of giving you the numbers, but then the guys can they really set. So we are on track operationally and most importantly, and I said on revenue, we are really getting it.

And you saw our operating cash flow margins. They are north of 25%, right? So once we get operating leverage into the business which we can, it really starts trickling down at the operating level. The point I'm making is we're totally on track to accretive cash flow as we guided for the three years. And this is where it gets a little nervous.

It is not all back-ended. That's as far as I can see. It's not like we're going to wait for the three to just show up $1 billion of equity free cash flow.

Sheldon Bruha -- Chief Financial Officer

I would add to that. I mean, just a few things. I mean we did reiterate our debt target objective at the end of the year of being below three times. Embedded in that is essentially is our equity free cash flow sort of ambition within there.

So that is on target. I wouldn't take away too much of what we're seeing in Q1 as being sort of indicative of sort of our path to getting to that $800 million to $1 billion over the three years. We're on target on that. It's really some seasonality, I think, in terms of how our cash flows and working capitals move in the quarter.

And maybe a little bit of capex spend being, as I said in my prepared remarks, a bit more equal across the years than maybe they have in the years past, so they were more backend-loaded or heavily weighted to Q4. So once again, on that point, though, from a full year perspective, we're still reiterating the $1 billion of spend, and it's just how it's landing within the year.

Andres Coello -- Scotiabank -- Analyst

OK Thank you.

Michel Morin

Thanks, Andres. So Mauricio, Sheldon, we have no other questions in the queue. So Mauricio, I'll turn it back to you for closing remarks.

Mauricio Ramos -- Chief Executive Officer

It must be that would become a very simple company then and people can just really read our results and get it. So some key messages, and I think everybody's gotten it by now. We are ahead of our plans operationally, and we're on track to everything we committed to deliver earlier on this year. That's a key message.

We're just on track and a little bit ahead. But we're also in really good operational shape. I hesitate not to say that we're in the best operational shape we've been for a long time. Revenue is growing, every country is performing, every line of business is performing.

We see momentum in the business. And with the way we shuffled the portfolio, we now have the ability, because of our high operating cash flow, low margins, to really deliver on that equity-free cash flow target for the three years that we've set out. So we're excited, really excited, about the shape of the business today. If we shuffle the portfolio, move the two countries where we think we can have top line growth, great operating cash flow growth, and deliver, because of our leverage, those operating cash flow targets of 10% on average on a yearly basis, I mean, $100 million to $1 billion of equity free cash flow.

And at the same time, we're making progress on the carve-outs that also unlock shareholder value outside of the core business, think of money and the infrastructure and those forwhich we've said basically a 12-to-24-time frame, they're on track. We're doing all the work. So just as I said earlier, we keep that one-pager with what our strategic plan is in the pocket. We review it weekly, and we're simply just ahead of track for those.

Andres Coello -- Scotiabank -- Analyst

Thank you.

Michel Morin

Thank you.

Duration: 48 minutes

Call participants:

Michel Morin

Mauricio Ramos -- Chief Executive Officer

Sheldon Bruha -- Chief Financial Officer

Marcelo Santos -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

Soomit Datta -- New Street Research -- Analyst

Vitor Tomita -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Andres Coello -- Scotiabank -- Analyst

More TIGO analysis

All earnings call transcripts