First clean audit in a decade for Sentech

Sentech, the state owned signal distributor for the South African broadcasting sector, has announced a 20% rise in operating profit from continuing operations to R177 million for the financial year 2012/2013.

As a statement of commitment to clean administration and corporate governance, Sentech said it received a clean audit for the 2012/2013 financial year by independent external auditors.

The company noted that this clean audit represents a first for the company in well over 10 years.

The group also noted that it exceeded a service delivery target for the 2012/2013 financial year to achieve 80% population coverage of the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) network.

The group said it recorded 80.4% population coverage using the DVB-T2 standard, four days before the end of the financial year, namely March 2013.

“Moving forward, the company is confident that the entire network migration program will be completed by the end of March 2014,” Sentech said.

Sentech said that revenue from continuing operations (excluding dual illumination) increased by 7% to R831 million, while cash generation improved with cash generated from operations increasing from R277 million to R299 million.

The state entity  said that it spent R457 million on “additions to property plant and equipment in 2013 for DTT and other projects”.

During the period, Sentech said it also cleared a number of legacy issues, with some dating back to 1997.

These included final clarity from National Treasury on the treatment of interest earned on government grant funds.

The determination from National Treasury, received in November 2012, means that the interest that was previously recognized as income in previous years will be refunded to National Treasury.

The total amount is R173 million, net of taxation, and includes R21 million for the current year.

It also pointed to a settlement with Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) of prior year licence fees of R43 million. R8 million was recognized in the 2011/2012 financial year and an additional R35 million was recognized in in the current financial year.

Sentech said in August that it would will rebrand Vivid as a universal access direct-to-home satellite platform, “Freevision”, from 30 September 2013.

According to Sentech, the launch of Freevision is a “gap-filler” while the migration from analogue to digital terrestrial television (DTT) is ongoing.

In its press statement, the state-owned signal distributor explained that a direct-to-home satellite service was envisioned as part of the DTT migration for those few who would not be able to receive terrestrial TV signals.

All licensed DTT broadcasters will be able to use the Freevision platform, Sentech said.

Sentech is expected to announce the retail pricing and channel line-up at an event on September 30.

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First clean audit in a decade for Sentech