Crystal Telecom shows signs of recovery

Crystal Telecom recovered slightly in the first half of 2018 after registering a profit of about Rwf506m up from a loss of over Rwf1b in the same period last year.

Crystal Telecom has a 20 per cent stake in MTN Rwanda, which has been floated on the local bourse through Rwanda Stock Exchange.

According to a copy of a letter addressed to the Rwanda Stock Exchange Chief Executive Officer reporting their half-year performance, the firm saw a growth in share of the associates profit in the first half of the year.

The firm’s share of profit was at about Rwf533m while operating expenses were about Rwf25m.

The firm suffered a hit last year which saw shareholders go without a dividend payout as MTN Rwanda reported a loss of Rwf8.5 billion.

The firm incurred a loss of Rwf8.5 billion which largely resulted from penalties amounting to Rwf15.5b by the regulator, Rwanda Utilities and Regulatory Authorities (RURA), as well as tax authorities.

Tax audits by the Rwanda Revenue Authority for the years 2011, 2012 and 2015 led to a tax discrepancy of over Rwf12 billion which the telco is expected to pay.

So far, they have made a provision of Rwf6.8 billion and have lodged an appeal to challenge the assessment by the tax authority.

Early this year during the annual general meeting, shareholders demanded increased compliance with all national laws and regulations, saying that failure to do so was costing them dividends and a drop in the share value.

MTN Rwanda has since hired a full-time tax consultant to conduct regular checks and follow-ups to avoid fines in the future.

Crystal Telecom shares value has been at Rwf54 for most of the year, down from about Rwf90 in June last year.