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Vodacom grows users, revenue, earnings


Vodacom grew its customer base substantially during the year ended 30 March 2012, also showing growth in revenue and earnings.

The group grew service revenue by 7,8%, while EBIDTA was up 10,5%, operating free cash flow up 14,1% to R16 934-million, headline earnings per share (HEPS) up 8,1% to 709 cents and a 54,3% increase in total dividend per share to 710 cents.

During the year, Vodacom increased its customers by 29,9%, adding 11-million new customers, while there was a 48,6% increase in active data customers to 15,1-million.

The group invested significantly in its network during the year, with group capex increasing 37,7% to R8,662-million. It also increased the number of base stations by 22% while radio equipment renewals underway in all operations.

Vodacom says demand for data services remains high in South Africa.

Active data customers increased 35,4% to 12,2-million and there was a 55,4% increase in active smartphones on the network to 5,1-million. Data revenue for the year grew 23,6% to R7 639-million.

International growth momentum continues, with service revenue up 27,5%, EBITDA up 73,9% and active M-Pesa customers up 1,8-million to 3,1-million in Tanzania. International operations are now making a positive contribution to free cash flow.

Pieter Uys, Vodacom group CEO, comments: “Our first year of trading as the new red Vodacom has been a big success. Our customer base has expanded 30% to 48 million, we’ve invested R8,7-billion in our networks and we’ve achieved the number one net promoter score in South Africa and in two out of our three measured International markets. From a financial perspective, thanks to building the top line and also managing costs, EBITDA is up 11% and HEPS is up 8%.

“Perhaps more importantly, we’ve seen strong delivery in the areas driving growth into the future – data and the International businesses. Combined, these accounted for 87% of the growth in group service revenue. We added 5-million active data customers, taking the total to 15-million and supporting data revenue growth of 27%. The International customer base has now reached 19-million, an increase of 36%, and this segment has passed the important milestone of generating positive free cash flow.

“Overall, the team delivered a very solid performance and the platforms for growth are well established. The 24% growth in Group free cash flow supported a higher dividend of 710 cents and helped us deliver a 45% total shareholder return.”