* H1 headline EPS 394.6 cents vs 322.3 cents
* H1 dividend up nearly 37 pct to 355 cents
* Shares up 30 pct this year, beating index
By David Dolan
JOHANNESBURG, Nov 12 Vodacom is looking
for acquisitions in sub-Saharan Africa, a sign the South African
mobile operator aims to be a bigger player in the fast-growing
The unit of British operator Vodafone also reported
a 22 percent rise in first-half profit on Monday, helping its
shares to a record high.
The dominant mobile operator in South Africa, Vodacom is
dwarfed elsewhere in Africa by rival MTN Group. Keeping
the current pace of growth will require a bigger African
presence, Vodacom Chief Executive Shameel Joosub said.
"For us to sustain the growth going forward, we think we
need to look at new opportunities," he said in a response to a
question about potential acquisitions in Africa.
"Our African model is working ... and we're confident we can
roll it out successfully."
He did not give details about a potential size or a
preferred country for an acquisition.
Vodacom already has a presence in Lesotho, Mozambique,
Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where it
has been locked in a longstanding dispute with its local
International operations accounted for 18 percent of its
revenue in the six months to end-September, up from 14 percent
in the same period a year earlier.
By contrast, MTN makes 63 percent of its revenue outside
South Africa. As well as MTN, Vodacom could face competition
from India's Bharti Airtel, which also has an African
"It's obviously good from a corporate perspective that
management are looking to diversify their revenue," said Reuben
Beelders, a portfolio manager at Gryphon Asset Management in
Cape Town, adding that Africa was a competitive market.
Chief Executive Joosub signalled the company's changing
attitude towards Africa following his appointment in September,
saying Vodacom no longer had plans to exit the DRC and would try
to resolve a year-old fees dispute.
Under previous Chief Executive Pieter Uys, Vodacom had
looked to exit the business and had hired investment bank
Rothschild to advise on a sale of its 51 percent stake.
Vodacom's partner in the DRC sued Vodacom in 2009 for $166
million, over interest rates and service fees charged by the
South African company for nearly a decade.
Talks are still ongoing to resolve that dispute, Joosub
Revenue totalled 34.4 billion rand ($3.94 billion), up from
31.7 billion rand a year earlier. The number of "active
customers" increased by 21 percent to 50.1 million.
Headline EPS, a measure of profit that excludes certain
one-time items and is the benchmark in South Africa, rose 22
percent. The company raised its interim dividend by nearly 37
percent, to 355 cents.
Helped by the hefty dividend hike, shares in Vodacom rose
more than 5 percent at one point in Johannesburg trade, to touch
a record high of 116.99 rand.
As of 1235 GMT, the shares were up 4.6 percent at 115.99
rand. Shares in the company are up 30 percent so far this year,
outperforming the benchmark Top-40 index and rival MTN,
both of which are up around 16 percent.