Eskom has stabilised under new leadership: Molefe

Photos_Web_Photo_Eskom_04_04_2013

File: Pay talks between the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) and Eskom have reached a deadlock.

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom on Tuesday reported a sound financial and operational footing compared to a year ago as net profit went up to R4.6-billion in the year ended March from net profit of R200-million.

Releasing the company’s financial results in Johannesburg, Eskom’s Group chief executive Brian Molefe said that the stability at both board and executive management levels of the company was a launchpad to drive accountability and better manage the business.

"With new leadership and intensified staff engagements, we have stabilised the organisation," Molefe said.

Eskom was plagued by board and management changes until Molefe was appointed permanent chief in September last year after he served in an acting capacity for six months.

Molefe was appointed after former chief executive, Tshediso Matona, was suspended in March when Eskom announced it would start an independent inquiry into the state utility, which was battling with maintenance of its generators, forcing it to implement load-shedding.

"Despite the challenges we face, we continue making progress in the technical and operational areas of the business," Molefe said.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), a measure of a company’s operating performance, surged 37.4 percent to R32-billion compared to R23.3-billion in the same period last year.

The EBITDA margin for the period under review improved to 19.8 percent compared with 15.9 percent in the same corresponding period.

Revenue rose 10.6 percent to R163.4-billion compared to R147.7-billion a year before.

"Financial performance improved against the previous year, and all financial ratios showed improvement due to improved operating results, as well as the conversion to equity of the subordinated Government loan and equity injection of R23-billion," Molefe said.

"Operating results also improved due to stringent cost containment measures."

During the year ended March, Eskom received a cash injection of R23-billion from the government.