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Vodacom boosts first-half profit, lifts dividend

Cellphone operator Vodacom said on Monday first-half earnings rose 38,4% and lifted its interim dividend 64%, due to the removal of one-time charges.

The dominant cellphone operator in Africa’s biggest economy, Vodacom has been overshadowed on the continent by MTN Group and faces new competition from former shareholder Telkom, which last month launched its own mobile unit.

Also on Monday, Vodacom said it had put on hold its plans for a listing in Tanzania.

It is majority owned by Britain’s Vodafone, which has so far failed to its implement plans to use the South African company as a springboard to the continent.

Vodacom said headline earnings per share for the six months to end-September rose to 303 cents from 218,7 cents, and at the top end of its own forecast range of 285 cents to 307 cents.

Headline EPS is the main gauge of earnings in South Africa and strips out certain one-time and financial items.

Last year it was hit by a R3,2-billion write-down at its network and satellite services unit Gateway, acquired in 2008.

The company said it expected full-year capital spending to be lower at R6,8-billion and that it had bought back R959-million of its shares as it looks to increase returns to shareholders. — Reuters

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