Telecom Fiji Limited reported a 9% year-on-year increase in revenue for its fiscal year ended 31 March 2013 to FJD91.06 million (USD48.28 million) from FJD83.34 million, reversing a five-year trend of declining revenues. In what its parent Amalgamated Telecom Holdings (ATH) describes as a ‘watershed year’ TFL also trimmed its net losses by nearly FJD8 million to FJD4.14 million, whilst improving its EBITDA margin by four percentage points to 31%. ‘Of significant impact on the company was the FJD800,000 loss it sustained in the cyclone that hit Fiji in December 2012 but the company was able to improve its position, cutting losses by FJD7.8million on the previous financial year,’ said ATH chairman Ajith Kodagoda, adding, ‘Landline connections maintained a declining trend, as is the case globally, but this decline has now slowed. The structural changes to the company have brought about some positive developments and the challenge for TFL is to prevail over these operational adjustments’. TFL also suffered close to FJD2 million in losses due to theft of copper cable infrastructure, however, close cooperation with authorities and other critical infrastructure organisations resulted in a ban on the export of non-ferrous metals, alleviating this long standing challenge, the company said.
ATH, which also has interests in the domestic market through Vodafone Fiji, Fiji Directories Limited, Internet Services Fiji Limited (Connect) and Fiji International Telecoms Limited (FINTEL), recorded a consolidated (audited) net loss of FJD15.9 million for the year to 31 March 2013, reversing a net profit of FJD18.3 million in FY2011/12. ATH attributed the results in the main to the loss on disposal of equipment recorded by Vodafone Fiji (FJD69 million) and impairment of assets of over FJD7 million in FINTEL. During the course of the twelve months under review, Vodafone Fiji undertook a major network transformation programme under which it replaced its entire mobile telecoms network infrastructure, ATH said. The upgrade has increased 3G coverage to 95% of the population and provided increased capacity for high speed data connections and voice calls. Voice and SMS continue to provide the bulk of the cellular arm’s revenues, but data products and services are becoming increasingly popular. In the year to 31 March, Vodafone increased its subscriber base by 11% (to 693,878) and its M-PAiSA money transfer service had been integrated into an e-ticketing system that is being used by the majority of bus operators in Fiji. The parent group confirmed however, that the loss on disposal relating to the mobile division affected the company sooner than expected, due to the early completion of Vodafone’s nationwide 3G network. Meanwhile, FINTEL reported an FJD3 million impairment loss on plant and equipment and a separate loss of FJD4.9 million on intangible assets, it said.
ATH booked consolidated revenues of FJD270 million in fiscal 2012/13, up from FJD249 million previously, resulting in a slight improvement in operating contributions when compared to the previous fiscal year.