Last year, BTL made $1.9 million in profits, that was an all time low. But this year, the company has rebounded most impressively with a 1,300% increase in its net and it has mostly cell phone users to thank.
The company’s financial statements show that it was another record year in gross earnings, which came in at $132 million, two million more than last year. But last year, despite solid earnings, the company’s net profits were sapped when it had to write off $27 million in bad debts mostly related to Jeffrey Prosser’s troubled tenure.
Well, with those Prosser debts out of the way, the net profit is back to a robust $23.1 million. BTL’s shareholders will benefit the most as the company will declare a 50 cent dividend per share which is a 25% return on the original investment.
Those who will benefit most from that are Jeffrey Prosser who owns 30% and Michael Ashcroft who controls 62%. Of course, it’s a mixed reward for Prosser because, if past events are any way to predict the future, the Ashcroft controlled BTL will simply scoop up Prosser’s dividend earnings and use them to pay his still massive debt to the company.
And if you’re wondering where the average phone user gets into all this… Well BTL reports that the number of customers on its GSM Cellular Network increased by 29%, to a total of ninety three thousand users. Add that to the ten thousand still using the analog service and BTL has one hundred and three thousand cell phone subscribers. Sales of pre-paid cards increased by four point five million dollars. But as cellular usage increases, fixed lines diminish, and the company reports that over the past two years, revenue from post paid lines has fallen by 32%.
And, you’ll be glad to know that as taxpayer, you’re doing you’re part in contributing to the record earnings for this Ashcroft company. The financials show that government has agreed to honor one of these secret guarantees of Intelco debt. Last year, BTL had assumed the debt and paid off the Alliance Bank. Well now, government has said, it will take over, and is giving BTL $5.8 million in a tax write off.