Vodacom final results March 2018
Revenue for the year increased to R86.4 billion (2017: R81.3 billion), operating profit rose to R24.3 billion (2017: R21.8 billion), profit attributable to equity shareholders climbed to R15.3 billion (2017: R13.4 billion), while headline earnings per share remained stable at 923 cents per share (2017: 923 cents per share).
A gross final dividend number 18 of 425 cents per ordinary share in respect of the financial year ended 31 March 2018 has been declared payable on Monday 25 June 2018 to shareholders recorded in the register at the close of business on Friday 22 June 2018. The number of ordinary shares in issue at the date of this declaration is 1 721 413 781.
Looking ahead, our strategy to become a leading digital company and empower a connected society remains a key focus. We anticipate that our investments in Big Data, digital services platforms and sophisticated machine learning will increasingly allow us to provide customers with relevant propositions based on customers' needs. Our adoption and application of this technology puts us at the forefront of global developments and remains a key differentiator to our competitors. In turn, this should continue to drive revenue and customer growth across all markets.
We are encouraged by the renewed economic and political stability in South Africa and larger International operations, including Kenya. Stability in foreign exchange and macroeconomic environments benefits our operations and is expected to support more predictable results across our operations. However, unexpected volatility in political environment, economic growth, currency and regulatory uncertainty continue to pose a risk.
In South Africa, we will continue to manage the process for pricing transformation in data. The priority is to manage out-of-bundle exposure in accordance with ICASA's recently published End-user and Subscriber Service Charter regulation, effectively improving the cost to communicate for customers. We will manage this change through increased elasticity, driven by our content platforms, digital social media partnerships and increased penetration of data-capable devices.
Transforming our revenue into new verticals, such as content, fibre, financial services and digital services, will also be a focal point. These services are complimentary to traditional revenue streams such as voice, messaging and data, but also to further leverage our strong brand, reach and reputation in the countries where we operate.
In our International operations, we continue to focus on data monetisation and growing financial services, through M-Pesa. The opportunity for growth in both these revenues streams is significant, while we introduce new services across our markets. M-Pesa is becoming a key driver of growth for us, with total M-Pesa customers now at 32.3 million including Safaricom, which makes us the biggest mobile money operator across the continent. M-Pesa now contributes 13.8% to our service revenue in International, and 28.0% to service revenue in Safaricom. We still see huge potential in getting all countries to the same level of sophistication as Safaricom and further growing M-Pesa capabilities. Access to spectrum at reasonable market related pricing remains crucial in making communication services more affordable and delivering new technological advances to customers in the countries where we operate. We are expecting progress in gaining access in South Africa, Mozambique and Tanzania in the year ahead. We will engage constructively in these processes with regulators and government to ensure a speedy and fair resolution for the industry at large.
We maintain our targets for Group service revenue growth of mid-single digit growth, Group EBIT growth of mid-to-high single digit and capital intensity of 12% - 14% of Group revenue over the next three years. For completeness, guidance from Safaricom is EBIT of KES85 - KES89 billion and capital expenditure of KES35 - KES38 billion for the year.