Econet’s revenue up 23% on higher data usage

The telecom sector has benefitted from increased data usage during the COVID-19 pandemic due to work-from-home trends, virtual conferences, and online learning.

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  • Revenue increased to ZW$35.1 billion
  • Market share data traffic at 78% increased by 5% points from 73% last year
  • Subscribers increased by 2% from 12.6 million to 12.9 million
  • Capital expenditure investment remains subdued due to the scarcity of foreign currency

HARARE – Following delays due to the unanticipated challenges and the impact of COVID-19 on the operating environment, Telecom giant, Econet Wireless Zimbabwe Limited has finally announced its audited financial statements for the financial year ended 28 February 2021.

The COVID-19 pandemic brought unprecedented challenges to business organisations as the virus outbreak demanded new ways of doing business. The situation demanded caution and for big corporates like Econet, it also heightened the need to consolidate their dominant position and stay at the top.

The financial results show minimum but equally relevant growth pattern by the group as it retained its dominant market share across the board.

Revenue for the period increased by 23% in inflation-adjusted terms to ZW$ 35.1 billion from ZW$28.5 billion recorded in the previous year.

The telecom sector has benefitted from increased data usage during the COVID-19 pandemic due to work-from-home trends, virtual conferences and online learning. For example, during the year, over 38,000 active users made use of the Ruzivo learning platform with over 94,000 learners accessing content on the platform.

In a statement accompanying the results, Group chairperson James Myers attributed the income growth to the increase in data usage, which increased by 47% on prior year.

“Improving operational efficiencies and continued cost containment measures yielded positive results which saw the earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) margin increase to 52%,” Myers said.

“Net exchange losses, decreased by 46% to close the year at ZW$ 13.7 billion.”

The Group highlighted that its subscribers increased by 2% from 12.6 million to 12.9 million while market share for voice traffic increased by 3% points to close the period under review at 82% compared to 79% in the previous year.

Market share data traffic at 78% increased by 5% points from 73% last year.

However, the existing foreign currency shortages continues to pose a challenge to the Group and in the process subduing capital expenditure investments.

Earnings per share increased from a loss of 237 cents per share to a positive earnings per share of 35 cents.

“Our cash flow remains positive and we continue to manage cash position prudently in light of the challenging operating environment,” Myers said.

“Our balance sheet is bolstered by our investment, of about 7% of Liquid Telecommunications Jersey (LTJ), a pan-African fibre operator, which is now valued at US$ 145 million.”

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