Calvo Mawela CEO of Multichoice. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA
Calvo Mawela CEO of Multichoice. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA

Listed pay-TV operator MultiChoice has declared its first annual dividend at R2.5bn.

The group said on Wednesday that its board had recommended a maiden annual gross dividend be declared at 565c per share for the year to end March 2020.

MultiChoice, led by CEO Calvo Mawela, reported a 3% rise in revenue to R51.4bn, including R42.8bn in subscription revenue, which increased 4% year on year. 

Core headline earnings rose 38% to R2.5bn, with free cash flow increasing by 59% to R5.2bn, driven mainly by an improvement in the trading results from its operations in the rest of Africa, a focus on cost containment, and a reduction in working capital.

The DStv operator said “despite global and country-specific macro-economic challenges”, it added 900,000 90-day active subscribers, representing 5% growth year on year. This took the overall subscriber base to 19.5-million households, split between 8.4-million in SA and 11.1-million in the rest of Africa.

Graphic: KAREN MOOLMAN
Graphic: KAREN MOOLMAN

The company declared earnings per share of 117c for the period, much higher than 2019’s loss per share of 374c. Headline earnings per share grew by more than 100% to 128c, a leap from last year’s headline loss per share of 353c.

Core headline earnings per share stood at 569c for the period, an increase of 39% from last year’s 410c.

The pandemic holds mixed fortunes for the group that was unbundled out of Naspers in June 2019. More consumers are staying at home and watching video content, which is positive for DStv. But global lockdowns have halted film and television production, as well as sporting events that are a large drawcard.

MultiChoice said the impact of Covid-19 on the group’s performance is not yet known.

“We have hedging programmes in place to offset some of the currency pressures we’re exposed to and a healthy balance sheet, which includes R9.1bn in cash. These organisational strengths provide us with confidence that we can withstand the impending macro-challenges and demands,” Mawela said in a statement. 

Shares in MultiChoice were trading 1.37% weaker at R93.30 in afternoon trade on Wednesday. 

gavazam@businesslive.co.za

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