10 APRIL 2002
By Marika Azzopardi
Mobile telephony has attributed to Maltacom plcs sweeping financial results for the year ending 31 December 2001. The company, which is Maltas leading provider of telecommunications and ancillary services, has recorded a turnover which has risen by 6.5% to Lm50.8 million and a profit from direct operations which has gone up by 19.1% to Lm 13.5 million. Mobile traffic has contributed immensely to this positive turnover, since Go Mobiles active subscribers currently amount to a hefty 83,000 people.
In fact mobile lines have exceeded fixed lines in Malta and Gozo and whilst local traffic amounts to 21% of the Groups turnover, mobile traffic totals 25% of the same.
This shows that Go Mobiles first full year of operation has definitely been cash positive and the Group is envisaging a further increase in subscribers.
"I cannot foresee the future," commented Maltacom plc chairman, Maurice Zarb Adami, "but I can use extrapolation of the past into the future by following certain trends." He said that in this years third quarter it is envisaged that Go Mobile will reach the 90,000th subscriber. "We have seen a phenomenal growth, especially considering the fact that when we started out we had only reckoned on acquiring 30,000 customers by the end of 2001. The facts reflect the needs of the market and we are conscious that even our direct competitors have increased their clientele tremendously."
Referring to Go Mobiles direct competitors Vodafone, Mr Zarb Adami mentioned the fact that Vodafone International is a world giant of enormous potential. He explained how, although Go Mobile has often requested the possibility of roaming with Vodafone, this never materialised in 14 months of operation. "I see this as a deliberate attempt to stop us from using Vodafone for roaming purposes. We will continue to fight this, but in the meantime we are still setting up roaming partners elsewhere." At present, Go Mobile has 73 roaming partners in 52 countries and only one of these is Vodafone, through an agreement reached even before Vodafone International set up a base in Malta.
Talking about fixed telephony, the chairman explained how Maltacom plc is striving to make the maximum use of all its infrastructure and software system and mentioned one major project being carried out at the moment -the removal of wires from the streets of Valletta. "This is a major project aimed at ridding Valletta of its cobwebs of wires," he said. "Eventually the Groups will move out to Floriana, Hamrun and other towns, as part of their ongoing project to clear our streets of old wiring systems."
Another financial highlight is that proposed dividends are to rise by two mils with a final net of tax amount reaching 3 cents, 2 mils. The net asset value per share (Company) stands at 65 cents 8 mils after an increase of 9 cents 5 mils and the net asset value per share (Group) standing at 61 cents 5 mils after an increase of 7 cents 2 mils.
As proof of the companys positive outlook, the British High Commissioner Howard J.S. Pearce presented the Maltacom College International Ltd with the ISO 9000:2000 Certificate and congratulated the chairman of Maltacom College for the rigorous programme which has acquired international recognition from the British Standards Institute. Maltacom Training College is highly committed to offering high quality training programmes that lead to increased customer satisfaction.