With 19.5 million subscribers, DStv parent company posts losses for its African operations

Africa’s largest pay-TV operator, Multichoice Limited, which owns and operates DSTV said its business operations are becoming more encouraging compared to when it was fully owned by Naspers Limited.

In its first full-year report, that it has so far benefitted from favourable foreign exchange movements, cut costs and improved the performance of its businesses elsewhere in Africa.

Reacting to the result, CEO of Multichoice Limited, Calvo Mawela said the company was pleased with its performance, but that it faced “unprecedented times”.

“Our healthy balance sheet positions us well to weather the uncertainties in our markets going forward,” he added.

The Multichoice reported that its headline earnings per share – the main profit measure in South Africa – stood at 128 cents ($0.0774) in the year to March 31.

That compares to a loss of 353 cents a year earlier, and a rise of between 107 cents and 147 cents it forecast last week.

However, the business is seeing slower growth numbers in its subscribers. The company said in the report that its Subscriber growth slowed slightly, growing only by 5% year-on-year.

MultiChoice said consumers were increasingly under financial pressure in many markets and also cited drought-related electricity shortages in southern Africa and one-off sporting events that did not recur.

It reduced losses in its divisions outside South Africa by 800 million rand, and cut 1.4 billion rand in costs throughout the year, it said. Its board recommended a final dividend of 565 cents.

In the last few quarters, Multichoice has tried to ramp up investments in its video-on-demand business, ShowMax, a new business unit that is positioned to compete with Netflix.