JOHANNESBURG May 20 South Africa's Vodacom
Group reported a 23 percent rise in full-year profit on
Monday underpinned by a strong performance by its African
subsidiaries and growth in data usage.
The unit of Britain's Vodafone Group said diluted
headline earnings per share, which is the benchmark measure of
profit in South Africa, totalled 870.2 cents in the year to end-
March, from 706 cents a year earlier.
The company had previously said headline earnings would rise
by 25 percent higher. It raised its final dividend by 11 percent
to 785 cents, exceeding a Reuters poll of analysts that had
forecast a 9 percent increase.
Vodacom, which also has operations in Lesotho, Mozambique,
Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo, has been scouring
Africa for acquisitions as competition intensifies in its key
South African market.
It held cash and cash equivalents of 6.5 billion rand ($693
million) at the end of March 31, nearly double from a year
Vodacom shares are down nearly 7 percent so far this year,
lagging a 5.6 percent rise in the JSE Top 40 index.