Jasco CEO Pete da Silva. Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL
Jasco CEO Pete da Silva. Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL

ELECTRONICS group Jasco has set its eyes on setting up a hub in Dubai to focus on businesses in the Middle East after a similar expansion in East Africa.

Jasco, through subsidiary NewTelco, recently opened an office in Nairobi, which will be used as a hub for the East Africa region. It already has contracts in the region, the latest being with Six Telecoms in Tanzania.

Jasco, which reported on Wednesday a nearly ninefold increase in headline earnings per share to 5.74c for the six months ended-December, from the matching period’s 0.65c, regards both regions having significant growth opportunities.

"We are hoping that the East Africa operations will start contributing to the group soon. We see the rest of the African operations as a ‘ mini-me’ of what is happening in Jasco locally. We are also considering establishing a presence in Dubai," CEO Pete da Silva said.

Acquisitions are on the cards once it completes the disposal of manufacturing subsidiary M-TEC and when the share price is closer to the net asset value.

Jasco’s share price jumped 17% to 81c on Wednesday, less than its end-December net asset value.

The group has completed its three-year turnaround programme, which has resulted in the disposal of nonperforming assets, while others were merged with other businesses.

Mr da Silva said all the remaining assets had contributed positively to profits, including the previously underperforming enterprise division.

"We have focused on driving sales, with our order book up 24% from December 2014 and a focus on cost-cutting, resulting in 6% cost savings," he said.

The enterprise business provides hardware and software solutions. Operating profit was R1.7m, from a loss of R1.6m.

"Enterprise is now profitable after strong action taken, but we will focus on the execution of large projects to achieve the required revenue."

The carrier division, which designs and plan s telecommunications networks infrastructure, increased revenue 26% to R226.7m, helped by demand for data services. Operating profit rose 66.6% to R31.5m.

The Intelligent Technologies division grew revenue 38.5% to R102.3m. Operating margins rose to 9.3% from 4.5%.

Mr da Silva said broadcasting solutions was a big contributor to the intelligent technologies business, as it benefit ed from the migration to digital TV broadcasting from terrestrial.