Prepaid specialist Blue Label Telecoms says it continues to increase market share and bolster its product and services mix, with many of its core services unaffected by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Blue Label — which specialises in selling prepaid airtime, electricity and ticketing — said its performance was resilient during Covid-19, although the pandemic has hit its ticketing and call centre operations.

Revenue from continuing operations fell 15% to R9.6bn in the group’s six months to end-November, although the group said it was not allowed to include pinless revenue in its revenue line, as it was regarded as an agent from an accounting perspective. The effective growth in gross revenue equated to 7% to R32.4bn, Blue Label said.

Pinless revenue refers to revenue from "top ups" in transactions including for airtime or prepaid electricity, when users do not have to enter a pin.

Headline earnings were little changed at R361m.

Earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) — a measure of operational profit — declined 6.1% to R703m, which includes non-recurring income of R101m, with R79m of this related to the disposal of the group’s interest in Blue Label Mexico and R22m to foreign-exchange effects.

In 2020, Blue Label Telecoms sold its stake in the Mexico-based company for $11.5m (about R188m at the time) to focus on its SA businesses.

Largely as a result of this, earnings per share rose 43% to 49.92c to end-November.

“The performance of the Blue Label Group remains resilient in an adverse economic environment,” Blue Label said.

“In spite of the Covid-19 pandemic, the group has continued to deliver essential services, including electricity, airtime, data and other digital services, as well as providing financial transactional services, which have not been negatively impacted,” the results statement reads.

Update: February 26 2020
This article has been updated to better reflect the group's revenue performance

With Mudiwa Gavaza



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