Explaining GO’s most recent financials, which revealed a profit before tax of just under €21 million and a dividend of €0.16 per share, CEO Nikhil Patil explains, “our mantra has always been to invest for the long term while taking care of the short term”.
“During my three years as CEO of GO,” he says, the company has “delivered more than eight million cash returns through dividends, while investing more than €100 million in network and digital infrastructure”.
Comparing this with GO’s market capitalisation of around €330 million, he says he finds it “very remarkable” that the company has returned around 25 per cent of this back to shareholders.
Speaking at an interview with Jesmond Mizzi Financial Advisors, Mr Patil explained that the company registered an increase in revenue, but a decrease in net operating profits, caused by investments, such as in sports content in Cyprus, network infrastructure, and a one-time restructuring cost.
Looking to the future, Mr Patil acknowledged that “hopefully with the vaccines being rolled out we can open up our economy, welcome visitors, and put this chapter [of COVID] behind us”.
In the next three to four years GO has multiple ambitions, including bringing fibre to more households and establishing 5G connections across Malta.
Notably, the company also seeks to continue to serve start-ups, which will establish Malta “as a go to destination in the Mediterranean for new businesses.”
Looking back on 2020, Mr Patil described the period as a “difficult year”, which the company got through based on its focus on purpose and values.
“Our purpose was our glue: we realised that we are not just providing connectivity, but we are driving a digital Malta where no one is left behind,” he explained.
“We gave free television to all of Malta, so whether you were a customer or not, during the first lockdown you had state-of-the-art entertainment; we provided free data to all frontliners including police and medical staff, so they could be connected to their loved ones and to each other.
“While doing that, we also ensured that we mitigated the financial impact to our business so that our shareholders got appropriate returns. Most importantly, we did all that while protecting our employees and making them our number one priority,” he continued.
The company’s ultimate goal, according to Mr Patil, is to work towards a digital Malta.
“We believe that our purpose is to drive a digital Malta where no one is left behind.”