Vodacom announces results

Celebrating its 10th anniversary in business, Vodacom Group (Pty) Ltd. Monday announced a strong set of results.

The company reported revenue growth of 18.7 percent to R23.5 billion (US$) and operational profit increase of 20.9 percent to R5.2 billion for the year ended March 31, 2004. Net profit jumped by 36.9 percent to just over R3 billion.

Alan Knott-Craig, CEO of Vodacom, attributes the company's performance to continued customer growth in the South Africa (SA) operation, which rose by 23.5 percent to 9.7 million. Vodacom's total customers grew by 29.7 percent to 11.2 million.

The SA operation remains the biggest contributor to Vodacom Group's revenue growth, and accounted for 93.6 percent of the growth in revenues in the reporting period.

Other African operations in Tanzania, Lesotho, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mozambique reported a combined 21.2 percent growth in revenue to R1.5 billion, also driven by very strong customer growth but negatively affected by the strong rand.

Vodacom has retained its 54 percent market share in SA, where its coverage reaches more than 95 percent of the population.

The network transmitted 2 billion SMS' in the past year, which contributed to the 58.9 percent growth in data revenue to over a billion rands. Data revenues now make up 4.4 percent of the total group revenue.

Leon Crouse, Vodacom's group finance director, says the company's total cumulative capital expenditure increased by 13.1 percent to R20.7 billion, after it invested R2.9 billion in the current financial year. Of this, R2.8 billion was invested in cellular infrastructure and related ICT and billing systems.

The group's consolidated net debt position has decreased considerably, to R463 million as at March 31 due to strong cash flow from SA and a reduction in capital expenditure.

"This reflects the group's net debt position before payment for 51 percent of the equity of Smartphone SP, and settlement of the R1.5 billion dividend payable at the end of May 2004," says Crouse.

Knott-Craig concludes: "We continue to be confident of our success in all of our operations, and look forward to an exciting next decade of growth and innovation."

Major highlights of the year include:

-- Group revenue growth of 18.7 percent to R23.5 billion;

-- Net profit growth of 36.9 percent to R3 billion;

-- Shareholder distributions of R2.1 billion;

-- Group data revenue growth of 58.9 percent to R1 billion;

-- Group total customers up by 29.7 percent to 11.2 billion;

-- Vodacom Mozambique launched in December 2003;

-- Acquired 51 percent of Smartphone SP in March 2004.

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