Safaricom of Kenya annual profit rises 19% on data, mobile money

Safaricom Ltd., Kenya’s largest company by market value, posted a 19 percent increase in full-year profit that beat analysts’ estimates as new users helped drive income from all services such as mobile money, voice and data. The company that’s 40 percent owned by Newbury, England-based Vodafone Group, said net income jumped to 38 billion shillings ($377.6 million) in the 12 months through March from 31.9 billion shillings a year earlier, Chief Financial Officer John Tombleson told reporters today in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital. That’s above the 36.3 billion shillings median estimate of nine analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Sales grew 14 percent to 186 billion shillings, helped by a 14 percent increase in service revenue, while the customer base expanded 8 percent to 25.2 million. The value of mobile-money transactions grew by 29 percent to 5.29 trillion shillings, while M-Pesa revenue surged 27 percent to 41.5 billion shillings.

The board proposed a dividend payout of 0.76 shillings per share, up 19 percent from a year earlier. “The amount we are paying for dividend is equivalent to the amount the government spent on education,” Chief Executive Officer Bob Collymore said at the briefing.