Vodacom branding on the Ponte Building in Hilbrow, Johannesburg, in 2011. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/FOTO24/FELIX DLANGAMANDLA
Vodacom branding on the Ponte Building in Hilbrow, Johannesburg, in 2011. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/FOTO24/FELIX DLANGAMANDLA

Mobile operator Vodacom on Monday reported 7% increase in first-half net profit to R6.7bn, boosted by the acquisition of a 35% interest in Safaricom in a R35bn deal that concluded earlier in the year.

Safaricom is Kenya’s largest mobile operator, which Vodacom sought to leverage to boost its footprint in Africa.

Headline earnings per share rose just 1.1% to R4.45, after issuing 2.33.5m shares to secure interest in Safaricom, which contributed R349m profit in the first two months since it was acquired.

Revenue in the six months to September was up 4.6% to R42.0bn, supported by strong demand for devices, particularly smartphones, the company said in a statement.

The active customer base rose 11.8%, or 4.3-million, to 71-million across the group. South Africa accounted for 2.9-million of the total, while the balance came from its international operations.

The company battled unfavourable currency headwinds, which took some shine off its international operations, with revenue and service revenue declining 5.2% and 4.8%, respectively.

An interim dividend share was down 1.3% to R3.90 per share, from a year-ago period.

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