Equinix today announced its Q4 and full-year 2021 earnings and provided updates on its financial guidance for 2022, data center portfolio, interconnections, development pipeline, leasing activity at its xScale (hyperscale) facilities, and entry into Africa through the acquisition of MainOne.

Q4 2021 Earnings Results – Equinix

Equinix operates a global footprint of 240 data centers, representing 340k cabinets of power capacity. Additionally, these data centers comprise 28.1 million sqft, across 66 metros around the world, and support 10k+ customers.

Revenues and EBITDA

Equinix generated revenues of $1.71bn in Q4 2021, a 2% increase over Q3 2021 and a 10% rise over Q4 2020. Additionally, Equinix produced adjusted EBITDA of $788m in Q4 2021, a 1% increase quarter-over-quarter and an 11% rise year-over-year. In turn, the company’s EBITDA margin was 46.2% in Q4 2021, an ~80 bps decline quarter-over-quarter.

Degradation in Equinix’s EBITDA margin was driven in-part by the company absorbing “higher utilities expense”, with a significant component being “temporarily inflated power rates in Singapore” which the company states “is expected to be transitory”. However, Equinix indicates that it is offsetting this cost inflation through “targeted price increases” to its customers, often through contractual means, as well as through operational efficiencies.

Regional breakdown of Equinix’s revenue and growth:

  • Americas: $782m of revenue, implying a 3% increase quarter-over-quarter and a 10% increase year-over-year
  • EMEA: $553m of revenue, generating a 2% increase quarter-over-quarter and an 8% increase year-over-year
  • Asia-Pacific: $371m of revenue, producing a 1% increase quarter-over-quarter and a 10% increase year-over-year
Full-Year 2021

For full-year 2021, Equinix reported revenues of $6.64bn, an 8% increase year-over-year, and adjusted EBITDA of $3.14bn, an 8% increase year-over-year. Therefore, Equinix’s EBITDA margin was 47.4% in full-year 2021, a ~20 bps decline year-over-year.

*Note: all growth rates are calculated on a normalized and constant currency basis.

Financial Guidance for 2022

For full-year 2022, Equinix provides financial guidance for revenue of $7.20bn to $7.25bn. Additionally, the company forecasts adjusted EBITDA of $3.31bn to $3.34bn, implying a 46% EBITDA margin. Finally, the mid-point of Equinix’s 2022 financial guidance infers a year-over-year increase of 8.9% and 5.7% in revenue and EBITDA, respectively.

Bookings

In Q4 2021, Equinix delivered record bookings, resulting in a total of 4.4k deals. Also, the company’s channel program accounted for 40% of Equinix’s total bookings. For example, Equinix’s channel partners include AT&T, Cisco, Dell, Google, and Microsoft.

Utilization

At quarter-end, Equinix was billing on 270k out of its 340k cabinets of power capacity, representing a utilization rate of 79.5%, an increase of 0.4% quarter-over-quarter. Geographically, Equinix’s utilization is 76% in the Americas, 83% in EMEA, and 79% in Asia-Pacific.

Utilization in both the Americas and Asia-Pacific improved by 1%+ during Q4 2021, while EMEA declined by ~1%. However, EMEA’s decline was attributable to 2.0k cabinet equivalent capacity being added, which has not yet reached a stabilized utilization rate.

Interconnection

Equinix added 4.9k net interconnections during Q4 2021, bringing the company’s total interconnections to over 419k at quarter-end. Of this total, 382k are physical cross connects and 37.7k are virtual connections.

Overall, the company’s growth in interconnections resulted in interconnection revenues increasing 4.1% quarter-over-quarter and 11.9% year-over-year.

Development Pipeline – Equinix

Equinix has 41 major builds underway in 28 markets across 19 countries, including 9 xScale builds in all three regions of the world. In aggregate, these projects represent 20k+ cabinets of retail colocation space and 80+ megawatts of xScale capacity. Following significant development, the company anticipates ending 2022 with 357k cabinets of power capacity, a 5% increase from current levels.

Development Focus (excluding xScale)

During 2022, Equinix anticipates spending of $2.1bn to $2.3bn in development capital expenditures, excluding xScale-related projects.

Additionally, as part of its Q4 2021 earnings release, Equinix approved expansions of 7.0k cabinets of power capacity at 13 data centers, across all three of its regions:

  • Americas: Calgary (CL3), Kamloops (KA1), Los Angeles (LA4), Toronto (TR2), Washington, D.C. (DC21)
  • EMEA: Bordeaux (BX1), Dubai (DX3), Frankfurt (FR13), Paris (PA6), Salalah (SM1), Sofia (SO2)
  • Asia-Pacific: Osaka (OS3), Singapore (SG5)

Finally, during the quarter, Equinix opened 7 new data centers in 7 metros. These openings were in Genoa, Munich, Osaka, Perth, Tokyo, Warsaw, and Washington, D.C.

xScale Joint Ventures – Hyperscale Builds

During Q4 2021 and early 2022, Equinix expanded its xScale (hyperscale) data center program with a new partner and in new geographies:

  • Australia: $575m joint venture with PGIM Real Estate to develop and operate two facilities in Sydney, Australia with 55+ megawatts of power capacity
  • South Korea: $525m joint venture with GIC to develop and operate two facilities in Seoul, South Korea with 45+ megawatts of power capacity

At full build-out, the total investment across Equinix’s xScale data center joint venture with both GIC (Europe, Asia-Pacific, and the Americas) and PGIM Real Estate (Australia) will be over $8bn, across 36 facilities, with 720+ megawatts of power capacity.

Overall, xScale-related capital expenditures during 2022 will be between $75m and $125m. Of this total, Equinix will be re-imbursed 80% by GIC and PGIM for the xScale developments.

xScale Leasing

As shown below, 133 megawatts of xScale capacity has been leased to-date, an increase of 20 megawatts quarter-over-quarter. Particularly, Equinix secured xScale leasing of 12 megawatts at Frankfurt 11x and 7 megawatts at São Paulo 5x during Q4 2021. Finally, across all of its xScale facilities, Equinix has 44 out of 177 megawatts of power capacity available to lease.

Equinix xScale Joint Venture Projects Q4 2021

As disclosed through the first xScale EMEA Joint Venture between Equinix and GIC, hyperscalers including Microsoft, Salesforce, and Amazon are key tenants of xScale’s London and Paris data centers.

Acquisitions – Equinix Buys MainOne, Enters Africa

In December 2021, Equinix marked its entry into Africa by agreeing to acquire MainOne, a data center, fiber, and subsea cable operator, at an enterprise value of $320m. With the acquisition of MainOne, Equinix is gaining an immediate data center presence in Nigeria, Ghana, and Côte d’Ivoire, while also purchasing a 4.3k-mile (7.0k-kilometer) subsea cable network.

Shortly thereafter, Equinix’s key competitor globally, Digital Realty, agreed to acquire a 55% equity interest in Teraco, a carrier-neutral colocation data center operator in South Africa, at an enterprise value for 100% of Teraco of $3.5bn.

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