Technology group Altron on Monday reported full-year headline earnings per share that fell 18% on revenue that was flat at R7.4-billion.
Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation — Ebitda is a measure of operational profitability — fell by 8% to R1-billion, with Altron blaming “weak market conditions and liquidity pressures resulting in low client confidence levels that have led to large-scale investment projects being delayed”.
Ebitda was further impacted by margin pressure, with customers requiring reduced pricing or discounts due to Covid-19. “Due to lower revenues being recorded in several operations, businesses were restructured to minimise the future impact on profitability, which drove a severance cost within the financial year’s results.”
During the financial year, Altron classified its Altron Document Solutions, Altron People Solutions, Altron Arrow and Bytes UK businesses as assets held for sale. Bytes UK was de-merged and listed on the London Stock Exchange (primary listing) and the JSE (secondary listing), unlocking significant value for shareholders.
The group’s net debt reduced to R453-million (including deferred disposal receipts), against R1.3-billion at the end of the 2020 financial year. This is “indicative of strong cash generation during the year”.
Cash generated from operations increased by 31% from R1.7-billion in the prior year to R2.2-billion.
“There is no question that this has been the most difficult and challenging year I have ever encountered as a business leader. Lockdowns significantly reduced economic activity and inevitably impacted on our financial results,” said Altron CEO Mteto Nyati in a statement alongside the financial results.
However, he said that the “onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and the Bytes UK de-merger created conditions for demonstrating the resilience of our strategic direction and validated the choices we made in pursuing certain growth areas like cloud and security”.
Altron declared a final cash dividend of 15c/share, net of withholding tax.
The group said it’s key focus for the current financial year is:
- Concluding the disposal of the three operations that are no longer aligned to the revised strategy.
- Explore opportunities to further unlock value from operations.
- Accelerate growth of its digital transformation segment that houses Altron Karabina, Altron Systems Integration and Altron Security. Altron Security will lead the integration of the newly acquired LawTrust. Altron Security is also establishing a presence in the UK. — © 2021 NewsCentral Media