The Board of Directors of GO p.l.c. has approved the group’s interim financial statements for the period January to June 30, 2021. Despite the challenging economic climate brought about by the global pandemic, and which persisted throughout the first six months of the year, the Group registered a solid performance.
Throughout this time, GO p.l.c. continued with its efforts to keep its customers, businesses and the community connected by focusing on its digitalisation journey and True Fibre nationwide rollout programme.
Group revenue for the first six months of the year amounted to €93.9 million, an increase of €2.3 million, or 2.5% over the comparative period in 2020. The major contributors towards this increase stem from two of the GO Group’s subsidiaries. BMIT Technologies p.l.c., a data centre operations company, registered an increase in revenues of €1.1 million on the back of a higher demand for data centre, cloud, and managed services. On the other hand, Cablenet Communication Systems p.l.c. registered revenue growth of 10.5% compared to the same period in 2020, reflecting the Company’s subscriber gains, expansion of its fixed network footprint in Cyprus, and the launch of new mobile services.
Conversely, international travel restrictions contributed to a decrease in local telecoms revenue, particularly through roaming and other international wholesale revenues.
On the expenditure side, the Group continued to drive various cost saving initiatives, while ensuring that cost savings achieved in 2020 are sustained. Group cost of sales and administrative expenses amounted to €84.7 million, a net increase of €3 million over 2020 and largely attributable to direct costs and ancillary administrative expenses in connection with the setting up, launch, and operation of Cablenet’s new mobile service.
Consolidated EBITDA for the first 6 months of 2021 amounted to €34.8 million (2020: €35.5 million). Depreciation and amortisation amounting to €24.8 million remained on similar levels to 2020, while consolidated Finance Costs increased by €0.6 million. The Group’s pre-tax profit for the first 6 months of 2021 amounted to €7.9 million, a slight decline over 2020.
The Board of Directors resolved to approve the payment of an interim dividend of €0.07 per share.
GO Chairman Samir Saied noted that the figures released today confirm GO’s commitment to drive a digital Malta where no one is left behind. The Company’s efforts since the onset of the pandemic to ensure that everyone remained connected are yielding the desired results and that despite the persisting uncertainty in the economic climate, the Group continued to grow in a sustainable manner, expanding its market share and service offering.
This commitment did not go unnoticed among institutional investors and the general public, with a €60 million bond issue by GO earlier this year attracting more than 6,500 applications worth €146 million.
Chief Executive Officer Nikhil Patil said: “The overwhelming demand for the bond, which was oversubscribed by nearly three times, is testament to the level of confidence and trust that GO enjoys amongst the local investor community. The results announced today confirm the robustness and stability of our company throughout turbulent times and provide further confirmation of why investors and the public believe in GO.”
Mr Patil added that GO has an excellent track record of creating value and generating sustainable returns for its shareholders and financial stakeholders: “In fact, notwithstanding the unprecedented challenges brought about by the pandemic, we continued to work hard together as one team to deliver strong financial results. Earlier this year, we declared a final dividend for financial year 2020 of 16 cents per share, the highest ordinary dividend in its history. We were also very confident that 10-year bonds at a 3.5% annual coupon issued by one of the most successful public listed companies in Malta would present an attractive investment opportunity for both retail and institutional investors.”
“GO remains committed in serving the needs of Malta and Cyprus, as they gradually enter a new phase of the Covid-19 pandemic that will allow society more openness and mobility, yet with recurring and continuing precautions in place. In the next few months, it is increasingly likely that a hybrid environment of multiple and often conflicting demands of higher mobility and re-engagement in social activities and the need to maintain remoteness and distancing in work and education, will emerge. We remain continuously alert for changes in the way our services meet our customers’ and society’s needs and plan to continue evolving them to maintain or increase the added value and benefits they deliver,” said Nikhil Patil.
GO shall continue to invest further in its digitalisation process, particularly in the areas related to operations, billing, and customer relations management. In parallel, GO will continue to invest in digital infrastructure to ensure fast, reliable and resilient connectivity. These include the further extension of the True Fibre network, 5G roll-out and the continuation of works on the La Valette PEACE cable.