Cape Town - While most investors regard empowerment group Hosken Consolidated Investments [JSE:HCI] as mainly a gaming play, it was television broadcaster e.tv that again stole the show in the year to end-March 2010.
Figures released on Thursday by HCI showed that e.tv – held under Sabido Invesments – pushed up revenue and pre-tax profits respectively by 6% to R1.6bn and 18% to R570m.
At headline profit level, Sabido hiked its contribution to HCI by 21% to R228m.
HCI chairperson Marcel Golding said Sabido performed above expectations, "considering the impact of the prolonged recession".
Golding pointed out that e.tv remained the major revenue earner for Sabido, but it should be noted that the higher-than-expected profits this year were largely a result of tight cost controls rather than a significant increase in advertising revenue.
"Both audience and revenue share for e.tv are under pressure from the growth in pay-TV, which has seen an unprecedented increase in middle-income earners."
Golding said e.tv had increased its footprint outside the country with the launch of the new e.tv Africa service (available via satellite in 12 African countries on a syndicated basis).
He said the syndication of e.tv Africa enhanced the programming and advertising of the group's equity interests in Botswana and Ghana. It also provided a low-risk opportunity to air e.tv in other African countries.
Golding said the eNews Channel, launched two years ago, contributed significantly to the growth in subscribers to DStv. He said eNews' coverage had been extended to the whole of southern Africa.
Golding said Sabido planned to launch a Pan-African version of the news channel, which would be syndicated around the continent and abroad.
HCI's biggest contribution to headline profits came from its broader leisure interests, which include gaming (Tsogo Sun), limited payout machines and hotels. These interests contributed over R400m.
Bus company Golden Arrow chipped in R76m, but HCI saw losses from its natural gas investments, coal mining interests, automotive component manufacturing interests as well as in clothing and textiles (Seardel).