Executives of Botswana Telecommunication Corporation (BTC Group) have stated that minor issues that current management inherited last year have been dealt with, leading the telecommunications parastatal back into profitability.
The CEO of BTC Group, Thapelo Lippe, revealed they have been able to reduce costs while weathering the turmoil that afflicted the company last year when new management took over.
“Minor issues have been resolved and we are abiding by court actions. We are working on staff morale issues,” stated Lippe, former CEO of competitor, Orange Botswana.
The group results for year ending 31 March 2009, excluding new entrant beMOBILE, showed revenues stood at P835 million compared to a forecast of P821 million.
This is also better than P799 million for the end of year 31 March 2008.
This represents a 2% growth year on year. Net profit for the group stood at P119 million against a forecast of P64 million.
Lippe said the first half of the year ending September 2008 was characterised by ‘turmoil’ with an acting CEO, retrenchments and court actions by unions that won with higher costs.
Income in the first half was P399 million against a target of P438 million, but the tide improved in the second quarter with the arrival of a new team.
In the second quarter, ended March 31 2009, revenues were P436 million against a target of P383 million.
Lippe stated that they are working on restoring staff morale to make the workforce focused.
BTC group has a workforce of 971 employees.
“It is important that they are happy, understood and their issues heard.”
He added that BTC fixed-line division did well against the international trends where mobile operations have killed fixed business in the developing world.
He stated that fixed-line companies suffer whenever there are mobile services available, but BTC Fixed “has barked the trend” in the developing world. He stated giants have lost the market share during the coming of mobile.
The CEO also confessed that broadband is expensive in the domestic market because of the dictates of supply and demand.
In a population of less than 2 million people, ‘you have low density yet the cost is high’.
However, he revealed they are working on a number of partnerships in the continent that will help lessen the cost of internet.
He stated that BTC have found cheap suppliers and have passed the cost to the corporate sector and the Internet Service Providers (ISPs).
“I agree that costs (of broadband) are high. It is a question of supply and demand,” said Lippe.
“We are in the business of making profit. Recently, we slashed prices because we secured new suppliers.”
The results do not cover beMOBILE since it started competing in the commercial market late last year although it now controls over 10 percent of the market.