VENTURES AFRICA – Vodacom, the largest provider of mobile-phone services to South Africans, announced a modest 8 per cent rise in full-year earnings on Monday, coming just short of expectations after a hefty tax bill and high capital expenditure costs.
The South African unit of England-based Vodafone PLC, said diluted headline earnings per share totalled 706 cents ($0.09) in the year to end-March, up from 654.3 cents ($0.08) a year earlier, a business daily reported.
In a trading statement last month, the telecom giant revealed that it expected earnings to be 5-10 per cent higher, while a poll of 17 analysts by Thomson Reuters predicted a 10% rise.
The total dividend, however, jumped over 50 per cent to 710 cents ($0.09), with data revenue increasing 23.6 per cent to R7.6bn ($916.5 million).
Across Africa, mobile operators have been rolling out data networks and pushing smartphones aiming to cut back reliance on voice revenue as their main earnings source.
Vodacom operates in South Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania, where it is fighting to defend market share from larger competitors MTN group and India’s Bharti Airtel.
The company is currently embroiled in an ownership dispute with its local partner in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Congolese Wireless Network. A court has also ordered Vodacom to pay a former consultant $21m in fees.