Double whammy

Baitshepi Sekgweng
FACING LOSS: BTCL profits decline

Copper cable thieves and hungry taxman hurt BTC’s profits

Despite widespread, sticky-fingered copper cable thieves as well as a hungry taxman putting a dent in their profits, Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTCL) continues to dial in the big numbers.

The telephone giant’s ended the 2022/23 financial year with a profit after tax of P108.3 million. Although such a figure is not to be sniffed at, it represents a significant decline (P32.5 million) from the P140.8 million raked in during the previous year.

As well as thieving bandits, BTC was also hit hard by BURS, with the tax-collector claiming P40.2 million from the company.

In the company’s latest Integrated Report, Managing Director, Anthony Masunga, explains focus was on rolling-out their digital transformation strategy, as the company continues its transition from a ‘telco to a techco’.

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“The return of most of our corporate customers to their offices resulted in a one percent increase in revenue for our fixed business. There was strong growth in the mobile broadband, financial services and digital business which compensated for the declining revenues from our mobile voice business. Despite the revenue growth, the profit decline is due to the higher-than-expected cost of replacing copper infrastructure after incidents of copper cable theft,” mentioned Masunga.

Total revenue for the year stood at P1.4 billion, a ‘slight’ P7.8 million increase from the P1.39 billion generated in 2022.

The company’s revenue from customer contracts is derived from three major streams: voice, mobile and data. Further earners include: directory services, property rentals, third party collection services, value added services and Smega.

Fixed data contributes the lion’s share of BTC’s revenues with its proportion remaining steady at 35 percent for a third successive year. All three sub-components of usage, access and customer premises equipment, delivered similar figures to the prior year at P263.6 million, P209.8 million and P14.1 million respectively. This resulted in a total of P487.5 million, compared to P486.4 million previously.

“We continue to operate within a very competitive landscape. It is essential that we find solutions that create the maximum value for our clients at a competitive price. Albeit in an environment of reduced demand for telephones especially in the residential areas, BTC continues to be the trendsetter and leader within the fixed solutions environment,” added Masunga.

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In a development that will worry the corporation, their share of the mobile market dropped by 1.4 percent to P431.9 million – this despite the overall industry growing by 3 percent, with 4.38 million sim-cards now registered in Botswana.

Delving deeper into the mobile segment, the voice component endured a big drop, declining by P53.2 million to end the year at P124.3 million.

There was better news for data services and customer premises equipment (CPE), however, which appreciated by P41.8 million and P12.5 million while Short message Services (SMS) delivered P31.4 million to the pot.

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Meanwhile, there was a boost in fortunes for the fixed voice stream, which registered a P12 million increase to end the year at P417 million.

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