Cell C grew its subscriber base in 2013 by 35%, ending the year with 13,6m customers, the mobile operator said at a media conference in Johannesburg on Tuesday.
The unlisted company, which isn’t required to disclose its financial numbers, revealed more detail at the conference about its financial position than it has in years.
It said it added a net 3,5m customers in 2013, mainly driven by the prepaid segment, which grew by 40%, or by 3,2m subscribers.
The operator said prepaid subscriber spend increased by 31% year-on-year, despite aggressive tariff reductions the previous year. As with rival operators, data was a highlight, with broadband sales growing by 55% over 2012.
Cell C’s revenue line improved by 14%, though the company declined to provide rand numbers for its top-line performance.
Ebitda, or earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation, was positive and was continuing to improve, said chief financial officer Robert Pasley.
CEO Jose Dos Santos said that for 2014, the company was experiencing “robust growth”, with recharges on prepaid up by 37%. “Gross subscriber additions per month continued to exceed 1m. We had 1,6m new subscribers in March, or 1m net.”
At the end of April, Cell C had 16,6m active subscribers on its books.
It planned to spend R2,3bn on its network in 2014.
In 2013, Cell C received an equity injection of R2,6bn from shareholders, with a further R1,5bn added in 2014 so far.
“Financing is a combination of equity and debt. Shareholders remains very supportive of Cell C,” said Dos Santos. The company raised R1,8bn in local debt and US$120m of foreign debt in 2013 “to augment the equity injections and support business expansion and capex”.
“A further $125m foreign currency deal is near completion and expected to increase to $200m by year-end,” he said.
“The point I want to stress is the company is well funded and well geared. The shareholders believe in us.” — (c) 2014 NewsCentral Media