Vodacom adds 6.2-million customers to near 130-million mark

Operators have been exploring alternative sources amid declining voice call revenue and cheaper data

Picture: TIMESLIVE
Picture: TIMESLIVE

Vodacom Group, which is looking into deepening its footprint in the potentially lucrative financial services in Africa, has added 6.2-million subscribers in the six months to end-September, taking the total to 129.9-million.

With declining revenue from voice calls, and data increasingly becoming cheaper, Vodacom and archrival MTN have been exploring alternative revenue streams on the continent to supplement traditional business lines.

In releasing its first-half results, Vodacom said on Monday that its mobile money platform M-Pesa, including Safaricom, processed $301.9bn (R4.62-trillion) over the last 12 months, with transaction value up 31.2% in the second quarter.

“Vodacom Group’s decision to diversify our geographic exposure continues to pay dividends. Our strategic investment in Kenya’s Safaricom in 2017 has proven to be value accretive, generating an annual total shareholder return of 26%,” CEO Shameel Joosub said in a statement.

Over the past week, Vodafone agreed to buy a controlling stake in the Egyptian unit of parent Vodafone for $2.73bn. SA’s largest mobile operator will leverage its financial services platform to tap into 80% of Egypt’s 100-million population that are unbanked.

Headline earnings per share (heps) dropped 5% to R5.05, affected by one-off deferred tax rate adjustment in the prior period.  Stripping out the deferred tax rate adjustment rate of R805m, heps grew 3%.

Group revenue was up 4.2% to R49.9bn while service revenue edged up 1% to R38.91bn. An interim dividend of R4.20 per share was declared, up 1.2% year on year.

Vodacom was up 0.14% to 140.31 in early trade on the JSE, giving it a market valuation of about R257.2bn.

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