The Bezeq Group reports the first quarter of 2020 with a net profit of NIS 332 million, compared with a net profit of NIS 300 million in the corresponding quarter - an increase of 11%. Bezeq's operating profit decreased by 9% to NIS 466 million, compared with NIS 511 million in the corresponding quarter last year. EBITDA amounted to NIS 918 million, compared with NIS 977 million in the same period, a decrease of 6%. The Group's revenues amounted to NIS 2.18 billion, compared with NIS 2.26 billion in the corresponding quarter - a decrease of about 3%.
The sharp decline in financing expenses is the main reason for the increase in net income - financing expenses in the reported quarter decreased by 66%, to NIS 34 million, compared to NIS 99 million in the first quarter of 2019.
Cash flow from operating activities was NIS 879 million, compared with NIS 765 million in the first quarter of 2019, a 15% increase. Investments totaled NIS 338 million, compared with NIS 373 million in the same period, a decrease of 9%. Free cash flow totaled NIS 436 million, compared with NIS 316 million in the corresponding quarter - an increase of 38%.
Bezeq finishes the quarter with a capital deficit of NIS 345 million, compared with NIS 747 million in the corresponding quarter. The group's net financial debt amounted to NIS 7.5 billion as of the end of the quarter, compared with NIS 8.54 billion at the end of the first quarter of 2019.
The company, which rejected the outlook for 2020 in its latest annual report, in light of the Corona crisis, now updates that "in light of the continuing Corona epidemic and its traffic and activity restrictions and the uncertainty that exists in the economy and in the world as a result, the Company is not yet able to publish a forecast based on its results. The Group for 2020.
The company considers it important to continue to make a forecast, and will therefore continue to monitor developments in the coming months, and will consider, as appropriate, the appropriate date for publishing a forecast in relation to the group's results. "
At the beginning of the Corona crisis, the Bezeq group removed some 1,200 workers to the USSR from its state of 10,000, and in recent days has begun its gradual return to full employment.
Shlomo Rudev, chairman of the company, said that in the first quarter of the year, the Corona epidemic began to affect Israel and posed a challenge. Services, management and business for the Bezeq Group. Thanks to early preparations and high operational capabilities, the group's companies were able to cope well with these challenges. And the sales of the group companies came to close to 100,000 calls a day, a jump of tens of percent compared to routine days. The transition to remote work was very fast, with no less than 80% of headquarters and service workers working from home.
Fully, every day during the Corona crisis they performed thousands of tasks in the private and business markets for Internet, telephone, television and advanced communications services. While we are hurting some of our areas of activity, such as revenue from mobile roaming services and retail sales, the increasing use of various communications services, and changing the ways in which entire sectors of the economy, while increasing reliance on communications services, represent a real opportunity for the Bezeq Group.
Bezeq emphasizes in the first quarter reports that during the period from the date of publication of the annual periodic report until the middle of April 2020, the expansion expanded
The epidemic and its effects, which is reflected, among other things, in the extension of restrictions on civilian movement and gatherings, in the expansion of employment and transport restrictions in the country and in a significant reduction in economic activity. As of the second half of April 2020, it was reported that there was some reduction in the morbidity and infection of the virus, and subsequently certain restrictions were set in the restrictions imposed and the start of return to routine under certain restrictions in economic activity.
Since the outbreak of the epidemic, the Group's companies have been working to maintain overall functional continuity in order to provide full service to their entire business and private clients as well as to manage their business continuity, subject to all government restrictions and guidelines. In addition, the Group's companies have taken action to deal with the risks and exposures arising from the consequences of the incident, including reducing their expenses and adjusting their activities to the situation.
In this regard, it should be noted that telecommunications companies as a whole belong to the infrastructure sector, which is an essential sector, requiring and enabling almost full operational activity, and the necessity of state residents for consumption of corporate services is structured in such events, so that the Company's exposure to crisis risks is relatively limited and low in relation to other sectors and services. The company also supplies them with increased activity as a result of the regulatory measures imposed by the epidemic.