Vodacom executives rewarded for keeping telecoms giant profitable
Vodacom's shareholders have rewarded the company’s executives for keeping the mobile operator profitable and increasing its subscriber base, to make it a serious player on the continent.
The shareholders supported all the resolutions proposed during yesterday’s annual general meeting (AGM), including approving the group’s remuneration policy and the increase in the directors’ fees.
More than 98percent of shareholders, representing 1.6billion shares, voted in favour of the special resolution to increase non-executive directors’ fees and approving the remuneration policy.
Only 1.1percent, representing 18.6million shares, voted against the increase.
The board has 12 directors, including former deputy finance minister Jabu Moleketi, who stepped down as chairperson to make way for fellow former politician-turned businessman Saki Macozoma.
The shareholders also voted overwhelmingly in favour of retaining Ernst & Young as the group’s auditors.
The firm were appointed as auditors by shareholders at the AGM in July last year. The appointment was made after the term of engagement for PricewaterhouseCoopers, Vodacom’s previous auditors, was terminated at the conclusion of the year ended March 31, 2019.
Ninety-nine percent of shareholders voted in favour of the special resolution to repurchase shares in the company.
The resolution to buy back shares is a recurring issue and limited to only 5percent of shares in issue, compared with the 20percent allowed by the JSE, and is an opportunistic buyback authority request they put through annually.
Moleketi highlighted some of the initiatives that Vodacom had implemented since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, including the provision of customer relief through payment plans.
He said the group had consolidated its zero-rated data services with new essential services aimed at social upliftment into a single platform called ConnectU.
“We have a partnership with Discovery to offer free doctor consultations to the public, the chief executive and various board members have donated a portion of their salaries to the Solidarity Fund,” said Moleketi, adding that Vodacom donated 20000 smartphones, 100terabytes of data and 10 million voice call minutes to the Department of Health to collect and transmit data for resource planning purposes.
Vodacom reported a 4.8percent growth in revenue to R90.7bn during the year to end March, as international markets recorded double-digit growth in revenue, offsetting the pressure from South Africa’s sluggish economic growth.
Peter Takaendesa, Mergence Investment Managers head of equities, said the company had been receiving shareholder support for years. “Vodacom has largely managed to get shareholder support for most of its AGM resolutions over the past many years despite the fact that its influence affects some of its environmental, social, and governance scores,” Takaendesa said.
Vodacom declined 0.7percent on the JSE yesterday to close at R123.77.