14 January 2004

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Maltacom’s interim financial statement bolstered by Vodafone sale

- earnings per share nearly double to 12c3

By a staff reporter
National telecom provider Maltacom’s financial statement for the first three quarters of the year, which was released yesterday by the company, shows surging profit levels for the January-September period – at close to double those of 2002.
Profit for the period, before tax, amounted to Lm19.381 million, as compared to Lm9.842 million for the same period in 2002. In fact, results for the first nine months of the year were also well over those for the whole of 2002, which had reached Lm13.5 million).

The rise, of Lm9.539 million, is staggering but was almost wholly attributable to Maltacom’s sale of Vodafone Malta shares this year. The share sale, less related professional fees, had amounted to Lm9.866 million. Excluding the Vodafone sale, Maltacom had actually realised a loss for the period of close to Lm325,000.
Maltacom’s earnings per share skyrocketed to 12c3, as opposed to 6c4 for the first nine months of 2002 and 9c5 for the whole of last year. The telephony carrier’s profits represent an annualised return of 35.4 per cent on the average shareholders’ funds and 19.8 per cent on the average total assets employed. No interim dividend is being declared.
Over the period shareholders’ funds amounted to Lm77.3 million – up from Lm65.5 million for the first nine months of 2002 and from Lm68.7 million for the whole of 2002. As such shareholders’ funds finance 57.5 per cent of the Group’s total assets. The Group’s net asset value per share stands at Lm0.763.
Turnover for the period reached Lm41.827 million, up from Lm40.454 million for the same period last year.
Maltacom’s gross margin for the period amounted to Lm20.7 million, equivalent to 49.6 per cent of turnover. The Group’s net operating costs were cut by some Lm10 million from the same period last year and amounted to Lm21.7 million. Operating costs for the first nine months of the year mainly represented the provision for VAT on international incoming interconnection revenue, interconnection charges by other operators’ labour and depreciation charges.
With an effective tax rate of 35.9 per cent, the Group paid tax expenses of Lm7 million during the period.
Maltacom’s balance sheet as at 30 September 2002 shows total assets at Lm134.5 million, up nearly Lm10 million from the same period last year. Loans by financial institutions amounted to Lm18.1 million and finance 23 per cent of the Group’s fixed assets.
Maltacom’s debtors, net of provisions for doubtful debts, totalled Lm34.1 million - 70.3 per cent of which were in respect for services and goods provided by the company. These debts have been cut from last year’s level, which reached Lm35.9 million for the same period in 2002. However, the Group’s trade and capital debtors amounted to Lm16 million, up from the Lm14.9 million registered for the first nine months of 2002.
Trading was halted on the Malta Stock Exchange yesterday due to technical problems, so the market’s reaction to Maltacom’s news is still to be gauged.

Copyright © Newsworks Ltd. Malta.
Editor: Saviour Balzan
The Malta Financial & Business Times, Newsworks Ltd, Vjal ir-Rihan, San Gwann
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