Cell C, South Africa’s third largest mobile operator by subscribers, has reported a net profit of ZAR4.1 billion (USD349.5 million) for 2017, compared to a net profit of ZAR541 million in its previous fiscal year. The operator disclosed that the results were inflated by a one-off gain of ZAR4.1 billion stemming from its recapitalisation and restructuring programme, which was finalised in August 2017. Excluding the one-off gain, Cell C reported a small ‘normalised’ loss of ZAR26 million for 2017. The operator generated revenues of ZAR15.7 billion in 2017, up 7% y-o-y, while service revenue climbed by 12% to ZAR13.1 billion. EBITDA increased by 151% to ZAR7.8 billion in the twelve months to end-December 2017, up from ZAR3.1 billion in 2016. Capital expenditure, meanwhile, dropped 47% y-o-y to ZAR1.2 billion in 2017, though the company disclosed plans to boost expenditure to ZAR3 billion in 2018 as it pursues an acquisitive strategy.
In operational terms, Cell C reported 6% year-on-year growth in the number of active subscribers on its network to 16.3 million by 31 December 2017, while its fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) subscriber base reached 14,000 at end-2017, up from 1,800 a year earlier. ARPU was down 4% y-o-y from ZAR76 in 2016 to ZAR73, with contract ARPU reaching ZAR209, up 7% y-o-y. Cell C had 12.6 million active data users on its books, with 9.2 million smartphones on its networks.