Vodacom revenue up

Revenue at Vodacom increased by 4.5% in the year ended March 2013, the company has said.

Excluding the sale of Gateway Carrier Services and the foreign currency affect, revenue was up 5.3% and service revenue was up 2.9%, it said in preliminary results.

Group data revenue had risen by 22.2%, and the number of active data customers had increased by 22.5% to 18.5 million, as the company continued to drive smartphone penetration.

International operations maintained strong momentum as service revenue surged by 22.3% supported by customer growth and increased adoption of data and financial services, the company said.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation expanded by 10.9% to R25.2 billion.

Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub praised the company’s performance under the current economic conditions.

“In South Africa, poor performance among independent service providers (and) persistent economic weakness… hampered service revenue growth,” he said.

“But strong commercial execution, which included heavily revised pricing and new prepaid and contract offerings helped to offset these factors.”

Joosub said Vodacom had spent R38bn on network investment, R28 billion of it in South Africa, in the past five years.

“In just the last year alone, we spent R9.5 billion across the group and R7 billion in South Africa. It’s thanks to this intense investment activity that we’ve got the footprint, capacity and technology to capitalise on the smart device revolution,” Joosub said.

Group capital expenditure rose by 9.2% to R9.5 billion, supporting expanded 3G coverage and network renewal projects.

Group operating free cash flow increased by 7.2%, despite significant network expansion and investment in working capital to finance smartphones and tablets.

Headline earnings per share went up by 23% as a result of strong operating profit growth and secondary tax on companies falling away.

Vodacom declared a final dividend per share of 430 cents. Total dividends per share rose by 10.6% to 785 cents.

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