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Econet reports $376 million interim revenue

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MEMORY MATARANYIKA
Harare – Strive Masiyiwa’s Zimbabwean telecommunications company, Econet Wireless is now seeing a slow-down in revenue generating capacity from voice telephony services, said chief executive officer, Douglas Mboweni on Tuesday.

Econet Wireless, which now controls Steward Bank after buying out Tawanda Nyambirai’s controlling interest in the bank, on Tuesday reported an 11% surge in half year revenues which jumped to $376.6 million by the end of August.

Econet enjoys a dominant position in the Zimbabwean telecommunications industry. The company’s future prospects have been boosted by the payment of the full amount for the renewal of its license which cost it as much as $137.5 million for a new 20 year tenure.

Subscriber numbers during the period under review surged 22% to 8. 527 678 million. Finance director, Roy Chimanikire, said Ebitda earnings increased by 8% to $165.3 million and added that this reflected a robust financial position for the company.

The company said net profit for the period at $70.56 million, was down from the previous contrasting period’s $78 million.

“Our financial performance reflects sterling financial performance. Our costs have been maintained as a result of efficient measures introduced,” Chimanikire said.

Chief executive officer, Douglas Mboweni told a briefing at the company’s results presentation in Harare on Tuesday afternoon that Econet would continue to explore various innovations to prop up the declining revenue base from voice.

“There is slowed growth in revenue coming from voice. We are now seeing less and less spending on voice,” Mboweni said.

He said there was massive demand for platforms that enable expat Zimbabweans in South Africa to send money back home.

His company would explore options to tap into this area and indications are that Econet is expanding its EcoCash mobile money transfer platform to enhance its capacity to cater for remittance payments by expat Zimbabweans.

Transactions processed under its EcoCash mobile money platform have now surpassed $2 billion, said Econet board chairman, James Myers. EcoCash user numbers increased by 76% to 3 million during the interim period to August 31.

“The growth in the volume of transactions was anchored by the exponential growth of our agency network,” said Myers. Agents handling EcoCash transactions increased to over 7000.

Econet’s nearest competitor in Zimbabwe, Telecel Zimbabwe has just over 2.5 million subscribers while state controlled NetOne has just above 2 million subscribers.

Analysts at research firm, Renaissance Capital said in a recent analysis note more “African countries have apparently taken more readily to non-voice products and services”.

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