Impairment assessment of goodwill and investments in associates

For the year ended 31 May 2019, management performed an impairment assessment over the goodwill and investment balances as follows:

  • assessing the recoverable amount as being value-in-use, as entities are held-for-trading and not for sale;
  • calculating the value-in-use for each cash-generating unit (CGU) using a discounted cash flow model; and
  • performing a sensitivity analysis over the value-in-use calculations, by varying the assumptions used (growth rates, terminal growth rate and WACC, i.e. discount rate) to assess the impact on the valuations.


  2019 2018  
growth rate
growth rate
Cell C Limited 5.0 16.6  
SupaPesa 3.0 18.1 4.0 19.5  
Blue Label Connect Proprietary Limited 4.2 22.7 4.2 18.7  
Via Media Proprietary Limited 4.2 29.0 4.0 19.2  

The discount rates used are pre-tax and reflect specific risks relating to the relevant associates and companies. The growth rate is used to extrapolate cash flows beyond the budget period. The growth rates were consistent with publicly available information relating to long-term average growth rates for each of the markets in which the companies/cash-generating units operate. The discount rates used for the prior year were adjusted to reflect the Group's target debt:equity ratio. This did not give rise to any impairments in the prior period.

Where relevant, other valuation methodologies were applied. These will be explained in the applicable paragraphs pertaining to those assessments.

Based on the above impairment assessments, as well as management judgement, the following impairments were applied:

Impairment of goodwill

Via Media goodwill impairment of R74 million

Via Media's performance has been negatively impacted as a result of a sector-wide decline in the B2C (direct to consumer) WASP industry. Previously this was significantly offset by growth in its Enterprise division. However, over the past six months, the latter division has flat-lined which, together with the continued decline in the B2C channel, has caused a negative impact on operating profits with marginal growth expectations going forward.

Blue Label Connect goodwill impairment of R50 million

Blue Label Connect's performance has been negatively impacted as a result of challenging economic conditions that have affected one of its major clients. Furthermore, margin compression resulting from reduced incentives from the networks, as well as an increase in product costs, has resulted in an impairment to goodwill.

Impairment of investments

SupaPesa investment impairment of R30 million

A decline in revenue, primarily attributable to legislative changes and loss in clientele, has resulted in the impairment.

Oxigen, Oxigen Online and 2DFine investments impairment to Rnil

For the year ended 31 May 2019, management utilised an independent third-party valuation specialist to calculate the fair value less cost of disposal. The fair value less cost of disposal is calculated by utilising relevant information generated by similar market transactions that have been concluded by comparable businesses. The assumptions and inputs used in calculating the fair value less cost to sell are regarded as level 3 fair value estimates.

The fair value of the 2DFine Group is based on its share of the fair value of Oxigen Services India and Oxigen Online, less the liabilities of the 2DFine Group.

Based on the fair value less cost of disposal, combined with the corporate transaction, referred to in the 30 November 2018 interim results, that did not materialise, and the resultant lack of funding, management concluded that an impairment of its full investment of R118 million in the Oxigen Group was required. The full value of loans to Oxigen Services India of R31 million and 2DFine Holdings Mauritius of R101 million, net of a surety asset raised, were also impaired. In addition, the Group has accounted for a R103 million liability relating to financial guarantee contracts.

Cell C Limited investment impairment to Rnil

On 2 August 2017, Blue Label, through its wholly owned subsidiary, The Prepaid Company, acquired 45% of the issued share capital of Cell C for a purchase consideration of R5.5 billion.

For the year ended 31 May 2019, management appointed an independent third-party valuation specialist to determine the value-in-use based on cash flow projections incorporated in the five-year Cell C business plan. They applied assumptions relating to the business, the industry and economic growth. Cash flows beyond this point were then extrapolated, applying terminal growth rates that did not exceed the expected long-term economic growth rate.

TPC's share of the value-in-use as at 30 November 2018 amounted to R6.04 billion. The valuation declined to a nil value at 31 May 2019. This was primarily attributable to:

(a) A significant downward revision of the mobile subscriber base. The valuation at November 2018 was based on the assumption the CAGR forecast would average 9.3% per annum over a five-year period. In May 2019 the CAGR forecast was revised to an average of 4.6% per annum. This resulted in an originally expected 23.4 million subscribers after five years declining to a revised expectation of 17.9 million.
  • Cell C previously anticipating gaining approximately 6% additional market share by accessing new territories. Instead, Cell C's market share declined by approximately 2% from 16% at November 2018 to 14% at May 2019. This was in line with re-evaluating the inactive subscriber base and a loss of customers to competitors.
  • A deteriorating South African economy since November 2018, with an initial GDP forecast of 1.9% for the calendar year ended 2019 to a revised forecast contraction of 0.2%. Accordingly, the forecast GDP was adjusted downwards each year for the following four years. In addition, Business Monitor Intelligence revised their mobile subscriber growth in April 2019 from a CAGR of 2.2% for the period FY18 to FY23 to 1.8%.
  • Year to date trading being below budget.
(b) A substantial decline in forecast other revenue. This is largely due to a significant decline in equipment, Mobile Virtual Network Operator and Business Service Provider revenues over the five-year period in comparison to the initial forecast. Cell C had previously forecast gaining market share from its competitors. This did not materialise.
(c) Lower taxation benefit relating to depreciation as a result of a revised forecast reduction in capital expenditure.

In determining the revised valuation, cognisance was taken into account of positive cash flow generation from:

(a) A decline in forecast direct expenditure on handset, SIM costs, ongoing commissions and discounts due to lower subscriber growth.
(b) A reduction in forecast payroll costs.
(c) A decline in capital expenditure due to cash flow constraints and lower subscriber base forecast.
(d) A decrease in cash lease payments as a result of less network towers required due to the lower forecast of the subscriber base.

The impact of the transactions in progress relating to a national roaming agreement and the recapitalisation of Cell C were not in effect as at 31 May 2019 and as such have not been accounted for in the valuation at that date.

Cell C concluded the national roaming agreement on 7 August 2019. This agreement is anticipated to positively impact the cost base and future cash flows on the successful implementation of this transaction. Furthermore, the debt within Cell C will require a capital restructure. These ongoing matters cast significant doubt over Cell C's ability to continue as a going concern should they not materialise.

For purposes of the Group's annual financial statements, Cell C has been accounted for using the going concern assumption. The Group's share of Cell C's losses has been recognised in "equity losses through the share of (losses)/gains from associates and joint ventures" in the Group summarised income statement. An impairment assessment was performed on the Group's investment in Cell C which resulted in an impairment being recognised. This is included in the "impairments on associates and joint venture" in the Group summarised income statement. The result of this impairment is that the investment in Cell C is now carried at a nil valuation as at 31 May 2019.

The Group's remaining exposure to Cell C is as follows:

Investment in associate  –  6 095 459    
Trade receivables*  1 352 718  1 028 184    
Loans receivable  –  1 029 626    
Financial assets at fair value through profit or loss – bond notes  –  167 519    
Trade payables  (1 212 392) (1 573 472)   
Financial liabilities at fair value through profit or loss  (301 716) (45 360)   
* Prior year amount has been adjusted as advances to customers are not regarded as advances to Cell C. They are advances to Cell C's end user.

Financial guarantee in respect of Cell C's facility

On 2 August 2018, Cell C procured R1.4 billion of funding from a consortium of financial institutions for a tenure of 12 months, secured by airtime to the value of R1.75 billion. In the event of default, TPC is required to purchase such inventory from the consortium on a piecemeal basis over a specified period that has been agreed upon. These purchases would be made in lieu of purchases that would have been made from Cell C within that period.

As at 31 May 2019, the above funding declined from R1.4 billion to R1.25 billion as a result of BLT purchasing from the security airtime. At this stage, the financial institutions have agreed to extend the repayment date to 30 November 2019. If Cell C is unable to meet this commitment by that date, and no further extension is granted, BLT will be required to purchase R100 millions of security airtime in November 2019 and R300 million per month in December 2019, January 2020 and February 2020 respectively.

It is the intention of TPC to accelerate payments to the banking consortium in order to distribute the vault stock in full by January 2020 if there is risk/indication that Cell C will not be able to meet its obligations to the banking consortium by 30 November 2019.

The fair value of the financial guarantee issued in respect of Cell C's facility was valued to be insignificant taking into account the inventory held as collateral.

Management has performed detailed assessments considering seasonality of trading and has determined that, based on current inventory holdings and anticipated sales cycles, should circumstances dictate the need to purchase the abovementioned inventory from the consortium, acceleration of such payments could well result in the debt being expunged by mid-January through its trading capabilities in the ordinary course of business at normal operating margins.

Critical accounting judgements and assumptions

Financial guarantee

As explained above under the heading "financial guarantee in respect of Cell C's facility", Cell C procured R1.4 billion of funding and utilised a portion of this funding to repay the R1.029 billion loan. Since the Group was a party to this new funding agreement, the Group considered whether it met the derecognition requirements of IFRS 9 for the loan receivable from Cell C. Specifically, the Group considered whether the loan receivable was extinguished and replaced with a new financial instrument, or whether this represented the continuation of the Group's loan receivable to Cell C. The Group applied its judgement, and concluded that the R1.4 billion of funding represented a new financial instrument and therefore derecognised the loan receivable from Cell C. The qualitative factors that the Group considered in making this judgement included the fact that the original term of the loan receivable had come to an end and the new funding was for a different period of time compared to the initial term, an increase in the amount of the borrowing, a change in the interest rate from variable to fixed and changes to the repayment schedule from a bullet repayment schedule to an amortising repayment schedule.

Management is of the view that the purchasing of such inventory will not result in an onerous contract as this inventory is capable of being realised in the ordinary course of business without any negative impact being incurred by TPC.