The number of social grant beneficiaries that Net 1 UEPS Technologies had to enroll had increased 40 percent to 21.6 million people, the company said on Friday.

The smart cards that Net 1 would issue remains 10 million, but the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) had increased its estimate of beneficiaries, the technology firm said.

As a result, fundamental earnings a share will be at least $1.25 (R10.88), which includes approximately 21c a share for the cost of smart cards.

Herman Kotze, the Net 1 chief financial officer, said guidance assumed a constant currency base of R7.72 to $1 and using the company’s fiscal 2012 share count of 45 million shares.

“As a result of expensing the smart cards, we have revised our estimated Sassa-related capital expenditures lower to $35 million,” Kotze said. Serge Belamant, the chairman and chief executive of Net 1, said the group had developed an extensive strategic plan that would drive growth and profitability for the group over the next three years.

- Asha Speckman