MultiChoice in $225m loss over forex and taxes

Saturday June 15 2024
EAM Multichoice 2

Multichoice is a South African company that operates DStv. FILE | AFP


Africa’s biggest pay television company MultiChoice Group widened its loss to 4.148 billion rand ($224.87 million) in the year ended March 2024, from a loss of 2.9 billion rand ($157.21 million) the year before, blaming it on foreign exchange losses in Kenya, Nigeria, Zambia and Angola.

The company reported an increase in impairment losses, administration expenses and taxes further chipping on the trading loss.

“Currency depreciation against the US dollar in several markets impacted reported trading profit by 4.3 billion rand ($233.11 million) including Kenya ( 158 million rand - $8.57 million) when the shilling declined 17 percent; Nigeria (3.3 billion rand - $178.9 million) on a 50 percent decline in official naira,” MultiChoice said.

In the period under review, Angola’s Kwanza fell 41 percent, resulting in a loss of 335 million rand ($18.16 million) and Zambia’s Kwacha declined 17 percent, leading to a loss of 305 million rand ($16.53 million).

In Kenya, the company increased prices on two rounds, in April and August, to counter the forex and growth pressure. It also launched GOtv Supa Plus to drive upgrades, amid exits by customers rattled by high pricing on adjustments to the dollar gains. The Kenya shilling took a major hit against the dollar across 2023, touching a record low of 160.75 at the end of January this year.

Inflationary challenges in some of its markets outside South Africa saw users discontinue their subscriptions. The “rest of Africa” business, which excludes South Africa, saw a 13 percent fall in subscriber numbers year on year, with the worst performances coming from its Nigeria, Angola and Zambia operations.


The multinational blamed the tough consumer environment and foreign exchange impact for the nine percent decline in active subscriber numbers.

MultiChoice streaming platform, Showmax, posted higher revenue but also increased losses for its latest fiscal year ended in March, amid investments related to its recent relaunch that saw additional entertainment packages and enhanced viewer experience.

“Showmax recorded strong growth post relaunch compensated for termination of higher average revenue per user (ARPU) showmax pro services.”

MultiChoice has 23.5 million customers in 50 markets across sub-Saharan Africa and is in the process of being acquired by France’s Groupe Canal+.

Besides its DStv, Showmax, SuperSport and MNet media companies, MultiChoice’s diversified offering includes medical and security (Namola), cybersecurity (Irdeto), and sports betting (Betking).

An independent board formed by the group and reviewed by Standard Bank said an offer by France’s Canal+ to buy the shares it does not own in South Africa’s MultiChoice is fair and reasonable.

Canal+ in April made an offer of 125 rand ($6.78) in cash per MultiChoice share, or about 35 billion rand ($1.9 billion) which valued the company at about 55 billion rand ($2.98 billion).

The offer is expected to close by April 2025.