Vox earnings jump 53%

2009-11-25 18:40

Johannesburg ? Telecom operator Vox Telecom (VOX) on Wednesday reported diluted headline earnings per share of 6.18 cents for the year ended August 31, up 53% from 3.95 cents earlier.

The group reported diluted basic earnings per share of 5.49 cents, from 3.70 cents previously.

Revenue was up 13% to R2.1bn, from R1.84bn previously.

Operating profit was at R132m, from R136.8m in 2008. EBITDA was up 11% to R201m, and cash generated from operations was up 25% to R185m, Vox said.

"With the application of cash generated from operations being focused on the repayment of debt and further anticipated investment in network infrastructure and the new initiatives, the directors have decided not to declare a dividend for the period under review," the company said.

The group pointed to slower growth across the group due to the recessionary environment, with particular emphasis on margin enhancement, which in certain cases meant the termination of low margin business.

"Vox Telepreneur growing to over 9 300 customers (2008: 2 600) with 9 144 Vox ADSL phones in use (2008: 3 200) and 3 800 dealers (2008: 1 900).

"Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) approximates R272, from R265 in 2008. New products are being added to enhance the Telepreneur offering, such as PBX and ADSL offerings and the renewal rate of dealers remains in excess of 70%," it said.

The telecommunications group said it had seen an increase in the staff complement from 698 employees in August 2008, to 783 employees to support future growth and new services particularly in the Vox Service Centre.

The group's BEE shareholding was maintained at 47.2%, with Vox Telecom remaining the largest listed black-owned telecommunications company in South Africa, it said.

Looking ahead, Vox said that the opportunity to access bandwidth on the Seacom undersea cable at preferential rates, would enable Vox Telecom to provide products and services to its customer base at a lower price.

"The environment in which we operate is experiencing dynamic changes, not only from a technology point of view, but more recently by the proposed changes to wholesale interconnect mobile termination rates.

"We anticipated that interconnect rates would change and in this regard have been building and developing our network. The launch of Cristal Vox is in direct response to this change. Cristal Vox is the result of four years of experience in the voice market and has resulted in the launch of a telco grade quality voice solution," it said.

- I-Net Bridge