Telkom has warned of a sharp decline in earnings for its financial year ended March 2023. This is on the back of a provision for a shock R13-billion impairment of assets being mulled by the board.
The profit warning, issued before markets opened in Johannesburg on Wednesday, sent Telkom’s shares plunging lower. They were trading almost 30% lower at R22.11 apiece shortly after markets opened. They later recovered some ground, but still closed down more than 15%.
“Shareholders are advised that the board is currently considering an impairment-of-assets charge in respect of the group’s cash-generating units, namely Openserve, Telkom Consumer, Gyro and BCX, in the amount of approximately R13-billion (excluding tax effects). This follows Telkom’s strategy to accelerate its migration to newer technologies,” it said.
“The non-cash impairment charge that may materialise following the review by the board will not impact the group’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation generated from operations [and] will have no impact on Telkom’s cash position. Nor will it impact the group’s compliance with debt covenants and its ability to fund its capital expenditure programme,” it said.
Restructuring costs and “marginal” revenue growth due to consumers’ moving away from the company’s legacy products both contributed to the collapse in earnings, as did the “deliberate upfront investment in working capital for handsets and equipment [and] costs associated with the impact of accelerated load shedding caused by an unreliable power supply”. There were also “inflationary cost pressures”.
Telkom will also take a big hit to earnings due to the impairment charge. Reported Heps will be as much as 105% lower, Telkom warned. Basic earnings per share, or Beps, will fall by as much as 485% to a loss of around R20/share.
“The difference between the Beps and Heps … is due to the net impact of the impairment of assets and the profit/loss on the sale of assets,” the company explained.
Normalised Beps, which excludes the R13-billion and once-off restructuring costs of R1.1-billion and a related tax impact of R288-million, will still decline by as much as 90%. Normalised Heps – which also excludes the once-off restructuring costs and the once-off impairment charge, will decline by as much as 80%.
Telkom in February announced plans to let go up to 15% of its workforce. The cash out-payment relating to the restructuring will occur in the 2024 financial year, it said.