Altech again impresses with significant growth
8 October 2002
Altech again impresses with significant growth:
Allied Technologies Limited, Altech, has reported impressive financial results for the six months ended 31 August 2002 and has entered its seventh consecutive year of solid compounded growth – despite the on-going turbulent local and global economic and market environments.
Altech, a leading South African R4 billion Rand turnover high-technology group involved in capitalising on the convergence of Telecommunications, Multi-media and Technology (TMT), is a member of the Altron group of companies.
Commenting on the latest interim results the Chief Executive Officer of Altech, Craig Venter, said the group’s pleasing and on-going consistent performance, even in the current difficult market conditions, was proof indeed of the strength of the group’s operations, focused TMT strategy and exceptional people.
In his breakdown of key financials he confirmed that Altech’s headline earnings per share on the continuing operations increased by 24 percent, as compared to the same period last year. “Revenue increased to R 2.1 billion, up 14 percent, with operating income increasing to R171 million.”
He reported that Altech’s balance sheet remained strong with cash and cash equivalents in excess of R926 million and an annualised return on equity in excess of 23 percent. “Due to the inflow of cash received for Altech’s 40% stake in Alcatel Altech Telecoms (AAT), which totaled R335 million, and the internal cash generating abilities of the Altech Group companies, the Board has resolved to declare a special dividend of 50 cents per share.” Venter said the decision to distribute the cash to shareholders had been taken even though Altech had reached the advanced stages of various acquisition opportunities. “The cash remaining after the special dividend payout will be used for these planned acquisitions.”
He said Altech was continuing to identify, investigate and negotiate with a number of potential acquisitions within the TMT sector both locally and internationally. “ But, we continue to be stringent in our requirements as to the quality of earnings and an acceptable risk profile of all acquisition candidates. Due to these factors the group has already disregarded several acquisition prospects after in-depth due diligence processes. I am, however, truly excited about the various prospects, both locally and globally, that Altech is presently considering.”
He said the R47 million acquisition of Prism TranSwitch Services (PTSS) into the Altech group of companies, announced yesterday, would enable Altech to offer full end-to-end payment solutions for its credit and debit, loyalty, purse, utility payments and pre-paid items. “The acquisition of PTSS is the final piece in our payment solutions strategy. The Altech group now offers card manufacture and personalisation solutions through Africard and Datacard, card applications through Altech Card Solutions (ACS), terminal solutions through ACS, E-commerce through PTSS and EasyPay, T-commerce through UEC and MediaVerge, M-commerce through Autopage Cellular and transaction switching through PTSS.”
Venter said that in addition to the announced PTSS acquisition, Heads of Agreement, conferring periods of exclusivity, had been negotiated, relating to further acquisition prospects.
Commenting on the various group operations, Venter said the Telecommunications Division had once again performed extremely well and was ahead of expectations. “For the interim period Autopage Cellular has shown a healthy increase of more than 13 000 net subscribers in its contract subscriber base, and a pleasing increase in its average revenue per subscriber. The company’s total subscriber base has increased to in excess of 460 000 subscribers.”
He confirmed that Netstar was now the dominant player in Southern Africa’s stolen vehicle tracking and recovery market and had shown remarkable growth during the review period. “Netstar has achieved a subscriber base of more than 200 000 active units and a market share of over 46 percent. Its Malaysian venture is contributing annuity income and this, together with opportunities which are under discussion in India, Brazil and the rest of Africa, will entrench Netstar as a strong global participant in its sector in the near future.”
In Altech’s Multi-Media and Electronics Division, UEC Technologies (UEC), had again exceeded its budgeted profit before tax, despite extremely difficult market conditions. “The introduction of its lower end Zapper Set-Top-Box (STB) has recently resulted in a R100 million order being received from the Middle East. The UEC MultiView STB has also been introduced and the first order of 10 000 units, valued at in excess of R20 million, has been received from MultiChoice.”
Venter said it was encouraging that UEC’s major customers were ordering product volumes higher than for the corresponding period last year.
Venter confirmed that Altech through Alcom Systems was well prepared for the imminent issuing of the Tshwane and SAPS communication tenders that were valued at in excess of R800 million.
Altech’s Information Technology Division performed well and was operating ahead of budgeted profitability.
Venter said, “The Altech Group remains positive, focused and acquisitive and expects to deliver similar growth for the remainder of its financial year.”
For additional information Contact
Mr Craig Venter
Chief Executive Officer : Altech
Altech Media and Investor Relations Officer