2019 was a pivotal year for our company, with several game-changing milestones. Our collaborative approach to executing our business and corporate responsibility strategies provided results that truly benefited our shareholders, our customers, our employees and the communities of the countries we serve.
We reinforced our commitment to Central America with an unparalleled inorganic investment of more than $3 billion over the last 18 months, adding Cable Onda in Panama and Telefónica’s operations in Nicaragua, Panama and Costa Rica1 to our existing operations. These transactions enhanced our footprint and advanced our goal to redeploy capital from under-performing to higher-performing regions.
As a result, we significantly enhanced Tigo’s mobile and fixed convergence capabilities in 2019. Tigo is now the No. 1 or No. 2 provider of mobile, broadband internet and pay TV services in eight out of our nine Latam markets.
Our business strategy—in place since 2016—is working, and the results can be seen in our revenue growth over the past year. Revenue for 2019 increased 9.9% to $4,336 million, and net profit for the year attributable to shareholders improved to $149 million, or $1.48 per share. We are confident that by executing our strategy, we will continue to create long-term value for shareholders.
Our customers benefited from our investments last year as well. We added a record number of customers to our 4G network, giving them faster, more reliable mobile internet access. We capitalized on our enhanced infrastructure capabilities to expand our business-to-business services, gaining 4,000 new customersin the past year. In 2019, we also advanced our goal to become a “content supermarket” for our Latam customers, creating strategic partnerships with Google, Amazon and others to deliver the richest selection of consumer experiences and business solutions. These enhanced offerings and our commitment to “give 1,000% to our customers” resulted in a tangible uptick in the Net Promoter Score metrics we use to measure customer satisfaction.
Ultimately, our success as a company ties back to our purpose and the transformational benefits that individuals and communities gain from being connected and participating in the digital lifestyle. Last year, we catapulted our long-standing corporate responsibility efforts to a new level as we put into action our updated and more cohesive Corporate Responsibility Framework, including measurable targets. The refined framework includes five Corporate Responsibility Fundamentals that guide us in how we manage our business, as well as our Responsible Leadership in Action initiatives to empower women, protect children, and connect communities. (More details can be found on pages 34-63 of this year’s report.) This also highlights our ongoing commitment to the United Nations Global Compact.
Highlights of our CR progress in 2019 clearly demonstrate how we create shared value for our multiple stakeholders:
- Promoting safe and productive Internet use among youth Through our Conectate Segur@ program, we provided thousands of children, parents, teachers and caregivers with practical lessons on how to avoid potential dangers online so they can more fully enjoy the benefits of technology.
- Narrowing the digital gender divide. Through our Conectadas program, we moved closer to our goal of training 400,000 women on digital tools and entrepreneurial skills by 2023, empowering them to support their families and contribute to their communities’ economic vitality.
- Issuing our first Sustainability Bond. Valued at approximately $211 million, our inaugural Sustainability Bond is helping us reduce our climate footprint and promote greater digital and financial inclusion in emerging markets. The enthusiastic response from investors for this bond underscores how our company can be a powerful vehicle for channeling funds from capital markets in Sweden, the United States, and elsewhere to developing countries in Latin America.
- Sharing the talent of our people. We created opportunities for hundreds of Tigo employees to volunteer in our Conectate Segur@ and Conectadas digital inclusion programs, allowing our employees to engage directly with communities to create positive changes in their lives through technology, which in turn, create positive rewards for our employees.
In our business operations and CR programs alike, our talented and committed employees are the lifeblood that propels us forward with great momentum. We call this powerful force our “Sangre Tigo.” In 2019, we dedicated ourselves to defining the essence of Sangre Tigo—those attitudes, behaviors and beliefs that our people bring to work—to ensure our company remains a great place to work as we grow. Our more than 22,000 employees now have a clearer sense of our purpose and are channeling their energy to have a positive impact for all our stakeholders.
I want to thank our Board, our community partners and our employees for their invaluable role in fulfilling our purpose in 2019. As you’ll see on the pages that follow, our attention to growing our connections and impact, and the results that accrued to all our strategic stakeholders last year give us many reasons to feel optimistic about 2020. We know there are challenges ahead, and we look forward to tackling them with enthusiasm, with Sangre Tigo.
Mauricio Ramos Chief Executive Officer
1Reflects our pending acquisition of Telefonica Costa Rica.