May 14, 2018 / 6:10 AM / 8 months ago

UPDATE 1-South Africa's Vodacom posts 6.3 pct rise in FY revenue on rising user base

(Adds context on acquisition, details on customer base)

May 14 (Reuters) - Vodacom Group posted a 6.3 percent rise in full-year revenue on Monday as South Africa’s biggest mobile phone operator by market value added more customers in its domestic market.

The company, majority owned by Britain’s Vodafone, added 7 million customers, including 4.5 million in South Africa, in the year ended March 31.

It has now more than 103 million customers, which includes Kenyan firm Safaricom’s 1.4 million users. Vodacom gained a 35 percent stake in Kenya’s Safaricom as Vodafone consolidated two of its African interests last May.

Vodacom declared a final dividend of 425 cents per share, lower than 435 cents given out last year. For the whole year, it has declared a total dividend of 815 cents per share, compared with 830 cents in the previous year.

Vodacom has invested heavily in its network to provide faster internet services as increasing numbers of consumers use smartphones.

Revenue climbed to 86.37 billion rand from 81.28 billion rand in the previous year, while group service revenue rose 3.4 percent to 70.63 billion rand ($5.76 billion).

Headline earnings per share, the main profit measure in South Africa that strips out certain one-off items, came in at 923 cents, unchanged from a year earlier. This was impacted by shares issued to acquire a stake in Safaricom.

Revenue at Safaricom’s money transfer service, M-Pesa, rose 19.6 percent on the year. ($1 = 12.2648 rand) (Reporting By Justin George Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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