February 28, 2017 / 6:20 AM / 5 months ago

South Africa's Blue Label posts 54 percent rise in H1 profit

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JOHANNESBURG, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Blue Label Telecoms reported a 54 percent rise in half year profits on Tuesday, driven by domestic growth and a fair value gain from its investment in Oxigen Services India (Oxigen).

* Headline earnings per share (HEPS) rose in line with expectations to 81.78 cents for the six-month period ending 30 November 2016 compared with 53.26 cents.

* Blue Label, the largest distributor of pre-paid airtime and data in South Africa, is in the middle of taking a 45 percent stake in debt-laden Cell C, South Africa's third largest mobile phone company.

* "The board remains positive with regard to the investment in Cell C and other commercial benefits that will

* follow therefrom. The demand for low-cost smart phones and tablets is expected to accelerate and in turn enhance revenue and profitability," the company said.

* Cell C and its creditors have agreed with Blue Label and an unnamed investor to lower the company's debt to 6 billion rand ($463 million) from 20 billion rand, Blue Label said on Monday. (Reporting by Tanisha Heiberg; Editing by Ed Stoddard)

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