Cell C will list on the stock market, possibly as soon as 24 months from now, according to the mobile operator’s CEO, Jose Dos Santos.
Speaking to TechCentral this week, Dos Santos said the company has pencilled in late 2019 or early 2020 for a stock market debut. Before then, the newly recapitalised business wants to demonstrate consistent growth over several reporting periods.
News of the planned listing comes in the same week that Cell C reported an underlying or “normalised” net loss after tax of R26m on service revenue that climbed 12% to R13.1bn. With the once-off effect’s of 2017’s recapitalisation included, the operator reported a R4.1bn net profit.
Last year, Blue Label Telecoms and Net1 UEPS Technologies together acquired 60% of Cell C as part of the restructuring and recapitalisation of the business, which trimmed to its interest-bearing debt to a more manageable R6.8bn, from R17.7bn previously.
Total revenue for the year, which ended on 31 December 2017, was R15.7bn, up 7% from 2016. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation rose by 151% to R7.8bn. Active subscriber numbers rose by 6% to 16.3m.
Cell C said capital expenditure plunged 47% to R1.2bn, but that this number will rise in 2018 to north of R3bn following the successful recapitalisation.
“While our turnaround strategy was put in place in 2012, the recapitalisation of Cell C last year has really allowed us to create a strong foundation for the business. Our plans now are to build out this strategy and really accelerate our growth and investment,” said Dos Santos.
The increase in service revenue was largely the result of increased data volumes, which rose 90%. Data revenue rose by 29%. The effective cost per megabyte of data fell by 36% during the year. The number of smartphones on the Cell C network increased by 21% year on year to 9.2m devices. Cell C’s current active data customers increased to 12.6m.
Voice revenue fell by 4%, in line with a 4% reduction in the average cost of calls.
Average revenue per user (Arpu) was R73, down 4% from 2016, but contract Arpu showed signs of life, rising 7% to R209. — © 2018 NewsCentral Media