The CEO of South Africa’s third largest mobile network, Cell C, said on Wednesday that the company is operationally profitable.
Little is known about Cell C’s financial status owing to the company being privately held and not listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
Cell C launched in the local market in 2001 but as far down the line as 2014, reports emerged that the company was unprofitable.
A cover story in the Financial Mail in August 2014 said Cell C had yet to break even, let alone hit profitability.
However, on Wednesday Cell C CEO Jose Dos Santos said that Cell C is operationally profitable in 2015. He made the comments at a media briefing at the company’s Johannesburg head office.
“We’re no longer the company that people perceived us to be three years ago,” said Dos Santos. “We’re in a very healthy situation. It is very profitable.”
Asked to elaborate on exactly when the company became profitable and the extent of its profits, Dos Santos was unwilling to comment further.
Cell C, which has 22m subscribers, reported in May that its overall revenues for the end of its financial year were up 3% year on year, while its prepaid segment makes up 60% of its overall service revenues.
Cell C has also dealt with recent debt warnings.
In June, rating agency Standard & Poor’s issued a warning over Cell C’s R2bn unsecured debt, which had upcoming maturities in July.
But later in June, Cell C announced that it had raised R3,3bn to fund the company’s capital expenditure and cash requirements.
Saudi Arabia’s Oger Telecom currently has a majority stake in Cell C but reports have indicated that the Middle Eastern company could sell its interest in the South African telecoms company.
Furthermore, reports have cited Telkom executives as being interested in acquiring Cell C.
“We continue to be the service provider that keeps its competitors on its toes,” said Dos Santos. “If Telkom want us, they must write out a cheque,” he said. — Fin24
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