South Africa-based mobile phone company Vodacom Group said revenue for the six months ended 30 September 2019 rose 3.9% year-on-year to ZAR44.389 billion (USD3 billion), service revenue climbed 4.2% to ZAR36.003 billion, and operating profit surged 16.0% to ZAR12.883 billion from ZAR11.106 billion. Group CEO Shameel Joosub noted that, following last year’s substantial investment in South Africa’s largest-ever ‘Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment’ transaction in the telecoms sector, this year it posted an 18.9% increase in headline earnings per share, while also reporting an improved second quarter performance in South Africa and the sustained growth of its international businesses. Meanwhile, group EBITDA in the six months under review improved 9.9% y-o-y to ZAR18.166 billion and net profit improved to ZAR8.199 billion from ZAR6.789 billion in the year-earlier period. Six-month capital expenditure stood at ZAR6.349 billion, up 19.0% on an annualised basis.
In South Africa, Vodacom said that service revenue increased by 0.3% y-o-y, while excluding the one-off benefit of ZAR292 million from the change in revenue deferral methodology in the prior year, underlying growth was 1.5% for the first half of the current fiscal year, and 4.2% for the second quarter. Vodacom said it delivered positive growth in South Africa in the second quarter as the expected uptick in data usage began offsetting the drag from the implementation of the ‘End-User and Subscriber Service Charter’ regulations. This was further supported it said, by the transition between roaming partners at the beginning of the quarter, boosting other service revenue.
At 30 September 2019 Vodacom had 115 million customers across the group, up from a reported 110 million at 31 March 2019. ‘Our International portfolio remains a star performer, growing service revenue by 15.5% in a period characterised by macro and political stability and high demand for data and M-Pesa [mobile money] services in each operation. We connected an additional 2.0 million customers, boosting the total to 36.6 million customers outside South Africa and Safaricom [Kenya],’ Joosub said.