Altron appears to be firing on all cylinders. The technology group, which owns Altech, Bytes and Powertech, has reported a 49% improvement in normalised headline earnings per share on the back of a 12% improvement in revenues. It has hiked its dividend to 80c/share, from 60c in 2013.
The strong performance was underpinned by a solid performance by IT business Bytes, where revenues climbed by a quarter to R8,8bn for the year ended 28 February 2014. Margins, however, come under pressure, with gross margins falling to 6,8% from 7,6% in the previous financial year.
There was also a recovery at electrical and electronics business Powertech, while the highlight at Altech was at its set-top box manufacturing business, Altech UEC, where revenues climbed by 48% on the back of orders for digital terrestrial set-top boxes in Africa (but not in South Africa, where digital migration has stalled). Altech Netstar, the vehicle tracking and recovery business, also did well.
Altron CEO Robbie Venter tells TechCentral that the decision to merge Bytes and Altech into a new division called Altron TMT is paying dividends, with good cost savings emerging and the businesses working together to secure new business. “Previously, they worked in a siloed way and in some cases the companies were even competing [for business].”
Altron TMT increased revenue by 12% to R19,5bn, while normalised earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) climbed by 16% to R1,5bn. TMT’s normalised headline earnings improved by 26% to R646m. Altech increased its revenue by 2% to R10,7bn, with normalised headline earnings growing by 29% to R336m.
Netstar’s revenue grew by 3%, while Ebitda increased by 9%. Margins were enhanced following contract wins in the fleet management side of the business. — (c) 2014 NewsCentral Media