DIFFICULT ROAD AHEAD
The decline in Altron came almost unnoticed. For the better part of the last decade, the group, led by the Venters, had grown in strength. It was profiting from its pay TV set-top box and the rapid growth in mobile phones powered cellular service provider, Altech Autopage.
Though there were a couple of bumps, there was little to indicate that it was about to make some serious blunders that would lead many to question the group’s leadership.
THE GOLDEN AGE
In 2009 Altron generated a then record high of R24.76bn in annual revenue and it was close to being – if it wasn’t already – at the height of its powers.
It had just gone through a growth spurt that had seen its revenue rise 146% and earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation, and amortisation (ebitda) had risen 164% over five years.
One analyst even commented that the Venters do not seem to make bad acquisitions.
But even back then there were signs (for