Vodacom continues strong growth

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 09 Jun 2008

The Vodacom Group has seen double-digit growth during the financial year ended 31 March 2008, with revenue increasing 17.1%, to R48.2 billion. The group's total number of customers across all its operations grew 12.7%, to 34 million.

This is according to a media statement, released this morning ahead of the group's annual results presentation, in Midrand, today.

Revenue was boosted by a 49.7% increase in data revenue, the mobile provider said in a media statement this morning.

Data revenue, as a percentage of total revenue, also increased from 9.4% in the 2006/7 financial year, to 11.9% this financial year, it says.

Earnings before tax, interest, depreciation and amortisation increased by 15.7%, to R16.5 billion, while net profit after taxation increased by 21.3%, to R8 billion.

Cash generated from operations increased by 17.8%, to R16.3 billion, while dividends declared to group shareholders increased by 10%, to R5.9 billion, Vodacom states.

The company attributes its ongoing growth off such a large base to continuous innovation.

"We are no longer a mobile-centric company and have shown that we can carve our future out of providing services and infrastructure in the larger information and communications technology arena," says group CEO Alan Knott-Craig.

This is especially evident in the fact that Vodacom is now arguably the biggest provider of data services in SA, he says.

Strong data push

Vodacom notes that data revenue increased by 49.7%, to R5 billion, contributing more than 10% of the group's total revenue for the first time.

"As the cellphone becomes more computer-like, it has become the most used business tool in the world by far. Added to the huge demand for all forms of mobile computing, we have grown the data market with affordable data products, better speeds and better quality," says Knott-Craig.

Vodacom says it has more than 4.5 million active data customers in SA, who use a wide range of data products and services, including MMS, data card and USB modems, 3G/HSDPA handsets, Vodafone live! and Mobile TV.

International operations

Vodacom says customer growth within its four African operations continued at rates of between 25% and 41%, contributing one in three of the group's new customers.

In Tanzania, Vodacom's customers increased by 29.6%, to 4.2 million, while in the Democratic Republic of Congo, customer numbers grew by 25%, to 3.3 million.

The number of customers in Lesotho grew 41.6%, to 395 000, while customers in Mozambique increased by 29.8%, to 1.3 million, Vodacom says.

"With mobile penetration levels at between 12% and 20%, these markets offer Vodacom excellent organic growth potential," says Knott-Craig.

At the same time, there is a clear need for data connectivity and data communication in non-SA operations, which contributed R333 million to the group in the past financial year, he says.

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