JSE-listed technology company Altron has announced its financial results for the year ended in February, which show a decline of 18% in headline earnings per share to 31 cents per share.
In a statement on Monday, the company said earnings before interest tax and depreciation (Ebitda) were down 8% to R1 billion, and revenue was flat at R7.4bn. Cash generated from operations, however, was up 31% to R2.2bn.
The company also said a dividend of 15 cents per share was declared.
Altron Group is a company that has ICT offerings in managed services, information technology, and business process outsourcing, security services, narrowband and broadband communication services, fleet management and telematics, secure transaction services, systems integration, and information technology infrastructure.
Altron Group chief executive Mteto Nyati said: “The cost containment measures taken across our operations to minimise the impact of Covid-19 have positioned us well”.
He said several businesses in the group were restructured during the year to protect and maintain profitability.
According to the company, Altron’s star performers enjoyed growth in a challenging year, including Altron Security (Ubusha), which recorded a significant improvement from the prior year and contributed positively to Altron’s results.
“Altron Karabina benefited from corporate South Africa’s almost instantaneous embrace of Microsoft remote productivity solutions,” the company said.
“There is no question that this has been the most difficult and challenging year I’ve ever encountered as a business leader. Lockdowns significantly reduced economic activity and inevitably impacted our financial results,” said Nyati.
However, he said that the “onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and the Bytes UK demerger created conditions for demonstrating the resilience of our strategic direction, and validated the choices we made in pursuing certain growth areas like cloud and security”.
The company said that during the year under review, Altron Documents Solutions, Altron People Solutions, Altron Arrow and Bytes UK were classified as assets held for sale. Bytes UK was demerged with a successful initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange as its primary listing and the JSE as its secondary listing. Bytes UK was included in Altron’s numbers for nine-and-a-half months before it was separately listed, unlocking value for shareholders.
The company said its new Altron 2.0 strategy builds on the successful implementation of One Altron, which resulted in the identification of four key high-growth areas in the IT sector as part of Altron 2.0, targeting tripled operating income in five years. These growth areas are automation (DevOps), cloud services, data, and security.
According to the company, Bytes UK’s growth is on the back of the trend towards cloud computing.
“Given that South Africa lags behind the UK on the same trend by three to four years, we believe Altron will reap the benefits of early positioning in the cloud space through Altron Karabina and Altron Systems Integration,” said Nyati.
Altron recently acquired LawTrust (pending competition commission approval), which will create end-to-end security capability when combined with Ubusha to form Altron Security, with a presence in the UK, where its offerings are in demand.
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