ABOUT US

The strategy and the six capitals

The key elements of Blue Label's strategy to grow and maintain shareholder value are Reach, Innovation, Trust and Efficiency. This strategy was developed during the 2018 financial year and has been deeply embedded in the operations of our business units and in Blue Label's culture. In allocating our capital to our strategy's levers and amongst the various value drivers, we need to consider the trade-offs between the six capitals which describe the resources available to us. The IIRC describes the six capitals as stocks of value that are affected or transformed by the activities and outputs of an organisation.

   

All our decisions are made through seeking to maximise positive outcomes and mitigate negative impacts.

 

Reach

Continue to expand all our distribution channels in banking, retail, independent and informal markets, including the investigation of new, primarily digital channels. Expanding our reach also encompasses the adding of innovative products and services to our portfolio. We are a magnet for foot traffic into our customers retail or digital environments.

 

Innovation

Platform renewal, improvement, innovation and transformation remain key to our central mandate of delivering world-class customer-centric solutions across our businesses. Agile systems create and entrench our entrepreneurial culture and add flexibility that increase our speed to market.

 

Trust

We have redesigned our operating structure to improve the ability to service customers according to their needs. A customer centric approach assists us in providing exceptional service that is intelligently tailored to the needs of and builds trust with merchants, suppliers and customers.

 

Efficiency

Efficiency of business processes and capital allocation is central to the running of our business.

   

Our integrated strategic response to the COVID-19 pandemic

There are seldom times that a business's disaster recovery and business continuity plans are put to the test. The COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing lockdown regulations demanded that Blue Label respond immediately and with supreme flexibility in order to continually supply our products and services, many of which are regarded as essential. Intense preparations for protecting our staff and anticipating a remote working environment began in earnest in late February/early March 2020 and by the time lockdown level 5 was implemented, our entire staff compliment was working remotely. This necessitated some innovative responses in terms of providing equipment and data accessibility to certain employees and ratcheting up information technology protection and security.

As the lockdown has eased, many of our staff have been able to come back to their respective offices and are appropriately socially distanced and with multiple temperature checks, hand sanitising stations and attendance records in place. We believe that the future of work will change, and we are in the process of assessing work spaces and optimal working from home rosters. We have been pleasantly surprised at the general increase in productivity levels across our staff compliment.

The COVID-19 crisis, including the new market dynamics which are unlikely to fade in our view, has highlighted that our approach to technology   accelerating innovation, go-to-market strategies and digital enablement   is the correct approach and forms the dynamic bedrock of our short, medium- and long-term strategies. Our purpose is to drive financial inclusion and our methodologies will be increasingly digital.

 

CAPITAL

1. FINANCIAL CAPITAL

The pool of capital available to Blue Label, comprises debt, equity and cash generated from operations and investments.

REACH
  • Driving financial inclusion within previously underserved markets through the growth of our hub and spoke model into informal markets in South Africa.
  • Enhanced reach in Group accounts across the retail and banking sectors.
  • Revenue assurance solution developed by Cigicell is being rolled out to further municipalities across South Africa.
  • Ticketpro has increased its sales network from 2000 stores to 3929 stores in South Africa. This rapid expansion is due to our everexpanding ability to include more products and services directly into our point of sale devices that exist in our retail, independent and informal markets.
INNOVATION
  • R31 million capex devoted to investing in technology.
  • To launch first truly home-grown near field communication (NFC) solution and fan-based experience platforms in November 2020.
  • New digital products launched.
TRUST
  • The ability to reconcile over one billion physical cash and virtual payments a month builds trust with suppliers, merchants and customers.
  • The Group has spent R17 million on different types of vending terminals that suit our wide variety of customers. These terminals control the front-end processing for our billions of transactions.
  • Municipalities trust Cigicell to collect their prepaid electricity and water revenue as well as rates and taxes.
EFFICIENCY
  • An efficient treasury function primarily within The Prepaid Company, CEC and Cigicell is vital to the acquisition and wholesaling of all products, supporting our funding of electricity projects and increasing funding of third-party hardware sales. An efficient treasury function is essential to the success and profitability of our business.
  • Risk assessment has been re-engineered and a new risk framework is in place.
  • The executive and Board are actively working on a new, comprehensive capital allocation policy.
OUTCOMES OF OUR ACTIVITIES
  • Blue Label has managed to grow gross transactional values, which include imputed PINless revenue and electricity, by 7% to R59.9 billion.
  • On exclusion of extraneous costs of R210 million in the current year and R3.66 billion in the comparative year, as illustrated in the Financial Director's report, core headline earnings from trading operations declined by R100 million (11%) from R872 million to R772 million, equating to core headline earnings of 86.13 cents per share.

2. HUMAN CAPITAL

The knowledge, skills and experience of the Company's employees and managers, as well as the capacity to add to this reservoir of knowledge, through training. With the COVID-19 pandemic, we adopted a people-first approach to ensure the health and safety of our people and in turn our merchants and our customers.

REACH
  • We are invested in creating a diverse talent pool within BLT that reflects our customer and consumer base.
  • Our talent is intrinsically linked to expanding our points of presence and product and services portfolio.
  • Skills development learnership initiatives are focused on enabling us to extend our reach, support innovation and rapid market expansion initiatives and provide us with a pipeline for key roles within our organisation.
  2020
R'000
  2019*
R'000 
  Increase/ 
(decrease)
in spend 
 
Skills development 13 030   10 789    21   

* The prior year numbers have been restated to include the cost relating to the continuing operations only.

INNOVATION
  • We are investing in new skills and capabilities through organisational redesign, talent attraction and talent development in support of creating products and services that meet the needs of our consumers and customers.
  • We are investing in additional resources, new skills and revising our operating model to enable speed to market of new products and services.
TRUST
  • We value our talent and aim to build relationships within and across teams grounded in trust and our Blue Label values.
  • Our organisation has been restructured to enable improved customer service that supports our aspiration to be a trusted brand and supplier of choice with our merchants and key accounts.
  • Talent development is being accelerated in support of our transition to new technology stacks that will enable us to be a trusted brand with our consumers.
  • We have engaged in multiple employee communication programmes aimed at entrenching our cultural values and providing employees with multiple feedback points
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic we have aimed to give our people access to trusted advisors to enable them to navigate the impact of COVID-19 on our work environment and our families. Through our Health and Safety plan, supported by our communication and engagement plan, employees have access to speak to and engage the support of their leaders, psychologists, specialist doctors and financial planners.
EFFICIENCY
  • We are actively leveraging key skills for the benefit of a broader number of subsidiaries.
  • We have implemented the Hay grading system.
  • We are working with subsidiaries to revise processes in order to improve delegation of authority to reduce risk and to deliver efficiencies while improving customer service.
  • We are automating key processes across the business in support of our drive to improve efficiency and customer service.
  • Through the sale of our assets and refining our skills development strategy, we have reduced the number of heads within the organisation.
  • At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic we responded immediately with our people-first approach and implemented social distancing and new health and safety practices across the business.
  • We swiftly transitioned and pivoted the entire organisation to remote working.
OUTCOMES OF OUR ACTIVITIES
  • Employees have decreased from 1 111 in FY19 to 922 in FY20.
  • 68% of South Africans employed within BLT are equity talent. This is a 4% increase from last year.
  • 52% of our employees (excluding foreign nationals) are African males and African females. There has been a decrease from last year due to the disposal of Blue Label Mobile and the handset division of 3G Mobile.
  • 77% of talent recruited into BLT were black candidates.
  • 63% of black talent recruited into BLT were African candidates.
  • African female representation decreased by 10%. Largely due to not absorbing learners at the unskilled level.
  • Female talent recruited into BLT decreased from 45% in FY19 to 40% in FY20.
  • 63% of all promotions were awarded EAP employees.
  • 44% of total promotions were awarded to African talent.
  • R13 million was invested in skills development.
  • R1.2 million was invested in bursaries.
  • Average training spend per employee in FY20 was R2 031 per employee.
  • 87% of respondents in our Engagement Survey are proud to be part of their teams.

3. SOCIAL AND RELATIONSHIP CAPITAL

The strength/efficacy of supply chain relationships, community acceptance, government relations, relationships with competitors and customer loyalty.

REACH
  • Part of our core strategy is to develop deep and mutually beneficial long-term partnerships with the mobile network operators (MNOs) retailers, banks and independent outlets. Our relationships remain vital. As we grow, they grow. Our ability to extend the reach of electricity sales and revenue assurance for municipalities further entrenches our relationships and provides exclusivity for other Group products and services.
  • A focus for FY20 has specifically been centred on informal markets where our service is differentiated by extensive engagement and training together with the provision of marketing material which enhances our customers' businesses.
  • The Trust Blu Foundation has been officially launched and has focused on early childhood development programmes and specifically, an urgent response in terms of food vouchers, hand sanitisers and masks for the communities in which we operate.
INNOVATION
  • We continue to move our technology platforms into agile stacks which improve our customer service and speed to market while allowing the development of new digital products and services.
TRUST
  • We are an ecosystem that is reliant on suppliers, technology, devices, merchants and customers working together for mutual benefit. The Blu Approved brand embodies trust and reliability. During COVID-19 we intensified our engagement processes and conducted digital meetings via ZOOM and Microsoft Team with all stakeholders, including investors.
EFFICIENCY
  • Across all our stakeholder groups, we have vigilant and accessible processes in place to engage and service all interest groups and customers.
OUTCOMES OF OUR ACTIVITIES
  • We have increased our customers in the formal retail, banking and mass market as well as in the informal market segments and municipalities.
  • Our engagement with Eskom, NERSA and the National Treasury continues to increase as we advance our revenue assurance business.
  • Our relationship with the mobile network operators has improved as the industry begins to grapple with the complexities of infrastructure and services sharing.

4. MANUFACTURING CAPITAL

Material goods and infrastructure owned, leased or controlled by Blue Label that contributes to products or services sold.

REACH
  • Our proprietary Aeon switch and leased Postilion switch are capable of seamlessly handling increased volumes as a result of growing reach.
  • We are accelerating innovation, go-to-market strategies and digital enablement. By entrenching our entrepreneurial culture and agile practices, our ability to execute on strategic growth objectives has improved. We continue to expand our digital solution footprint with active POPs (Points of Presence) in the main market, retail and petroleum channels.
  • We have invested in significant additional redundancy for improved stability and business continuity.
INNOVATION
  • We continue to understand customer needs and wants to expand our platform functionality and concomitantly product and service offerings and we continue to look for strategic joint ventures or acquisitions for new product or platform capability.
  • We have deployed innovative tokenised products: food vouchers with cash redemption; virtual vouchers for partner redemption (BluVoucher) and airtime (Ringas) with consumer-ready digital redemption mechanisms (USSD, Online). We have expanded consumer convenience with universal bus flows and new carriers for long-haul bus transport. In addition, we have deployed hyper automation and RPA technologies to assist the merchant and consumer experience. We have also expanded the software development stack with low-code, no-code application development functions to fast-track our go-to-market strategies.
  • All this while enabling employees to work from home through numerous digital remote working tools.
  • As mentioned above, we launched payment mechanisms into trusted consumer apps to purchase value-added products (VAS). We also created the ability to white label our core technology offerings and deployed consumer applications to specific communities with content and bespoke service requirements.
TRUST
  • Our platform, systems and devices work efficiently. We have virtually no downtime and provide exceptional service to suppliers, merchants and customers.
  • We deliver enormous volumes of mission critical transactions on a real-time basis to massive audiences and customer bases.
  • Active-active was deployed with transactional success rates and uptime increasing to beyond 99% and transactional volume growth sustained at over 20% per annum. There has been a 71% reduction in production defects from prior years. The reliability of our systems is core to building and maintaining customer trust.
EFFICIENCY
  • We strive to utilise all of our assets to become the lowest cost producer or distributor of transactions, messages and digital products.
  • We have concentrated specifically on scalability and platform refactoring.
  • Optimal scalability was achieved for high-speed throughput.
  • We expanded hybrid-cloud strategy which enables uptime of business-critical applications.
  • We have invested in infrastructure and software to improve stability and ensure future capacity in line with up and downstream.
  • We simplified integration mechanisms deployed as restful APIs, on a roadmap towards an open integration gateway and marketplace.
OUTCOMES OF OUR ACTIVITIES
  • Volumes of transactions and more complex solutions continue to increase.

5. INTELLECTUAL CAPITAL

Refers to the know-how and intellect behind how we craft our strategy, manage our reporting and data collection to drive growth for Blue Label.

REACH
  • Continued investments into skills, reporting structures, technology, agile and carrier grade platforms and scalable operating structures assist the Group in expanding our reach, improving service delivery and speed to market.
INNOVATION
  • Innovation is key to growth in a challenging economy and competitive environment.
  • Enhancing our intellectual property through processes, software and hardware is a daily focus. We also continue to develop targeted analytical processes, machine learning and artificial intelligence to use the data we receive to design better products and services.
TRUST
  • The quality of our technology and constant innovation allow our entire ecosystem to evolve alongside us.
EFFICIENCY
  • Blue Label has developed a business that is resilient to economic downswings and pandemics. New products and services will continue to propel growth into the future.
OUTCOMES OF OUR ACTIVITIES
  • We remain the market leader in the digital distribution of airtime and electricity. Our range of innovative products and services, designed to add convenience to consumers' lives, continues to grow.

6. NATURAL CAPITAL

Any stock of natural resources or environmental assets (such as soil, water, atmosphere, ecosystems) which provide a flow of useful goods and/or services, now and in the future.

REACH
  • As a technology company, Blue Label has a limited impact on the environment. We do however acknowledge that no matter how small our impact relative to energy or mining companies, we do have an impact and it is our duty to reduce that impact.

Excluding offshore, discontinued and sold operations as well as associates and joint ventures.

  2020 2019* Increase/ 
(decrease)
in spend 
  Increase/ 
(decrease)
in usage 
 
  R’000   Usage   R’000   Usage  
Electricity (kWh) 3 305   2 457 984   2 865   2 314 518   15    
Water (Kℓ) 445   11 742   432   11 279      
Petrol (ℓ) 8 494   537 723   10 312   661 630   (18)   (19)  
Diesel (ℓ) 752   45 775   827   51 460   (9)   (11)  
Paper (kg)1 110   6 145   189   8 819   (34)   (30)  
* The prior year numbers have been restated to include the costs relating to the continuing operations only.
INNOVATION
  • We continue to move our technology platforms into agile stacks which improve our customer service and speed to market.
TRUST
  • The Board and Executive Management are developing savings targets for all of these categories.
EFFICIENCY
  • We continue to automate and employ the latest technologies to reduce our use of scarce and valuable natural resources.
OUTCOMES OF OUR ACTIVITIES
  • Usage and tariffs relating to electricity and water increased in the 2020 financial year.
  • The decrease in the use of petrol, diesel and paper was largely as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown and environmental awareness efforts.