Comparisons with the corresponding period a year before are difficult because of various large one-offs, including a R2.2 billion net gain on the curtailment of the post-retirement medical aid liability for in-service members, as well as retrenchment, voluntary early retirement and severance package costs of R591 million for 1 205 employees. But, Telkom Group chief executive Sipho Maseko said: “On a like-for-like basis, ie excluding items that do not form part of the results from normal business operations, net revenue increased 3,1 percent to R26 billion; while group operating costs, excluding depreciation, were down 1,2 percent to R17,7 billion. Our normalised Ebitda [earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation] rose by 15,1 percent to R9 billion.”
Net debt at the telecommunications group was reduced by 92,8 percent to R151 million during the period under review. The group said in a statement: “Our strong financial position and healthy cash balances warrants a special dividend of 30 cents per share as we reintroduce dividend payments.”
Looking ahead, the group that said, like telecoms operators globally, it must continue to work towards achieving a leaner and more productive workforce. The group reiterated its stated aim of achieving a staff cost to revenue ratio of 25% within the next four years.