Vodacom Full-Year Profit Grows as African Data Revenue Increases

Vodacom Group Ltd., the mobile operator with the most subscribers in South Africa, said full-year earnings increased 2.8 percent as data usage offset a fall in domestic voice revenue.

Earnings per share excluding one-time items was 8.96 rand ($0.87) in the year through March, up from 8.72 rand a year earlier, the Johannesburg-based company said in a statement today. That compares with a 9.56 rand median estimate by analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Sales rose 8.3 percent to 75.7 billion rand.

“International operations performed well and South Africa returned to growth as mobile data demand ‘‘continues to be a key growth driver,’’ Chief Executive Officer Shameel Joosub said in the statement.

Vodacom, 65 percent owned by Newbury, England-based Vodafone Group Plc, is expanding in newer, high-growth territories such as Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo as the South African market becomes saturated. Its goal is to offset falling domestic voice revenue, which is under pressure following cuts in the rates it’s allowed to charge for terminating calls on its network.

The company is negotiating final details for a deal to buy local Web-access provider Neotel Pty Ltd. from Tata Communications Ltd., two people familiar with the matter said last month. The deal would enable Vodacom to expand into Internet provision for small-to-medium sized businesses.

The number of active customers rose 14 percent to 57.5 million as the company added subscribers in South Africa and its international markets. Net income increased 1.9 percent to 13.2 billion rand.

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