UPDATE 1-Kenya's Safaricom lifts annual earnings by 13%

NAIROBI (Reuters) – Safaricom (SCOM.NR), Kenya’s biggest telecoms operator, posted a 13.3% jump in annual earnings before interest and tax to 101.5 billion shillings ($949.5 million) on Wednesday.

The growth was driven by higher revenue from internet provision and its mobile financial services business M-Pesa, as well as a first ever drop in operating expenses, said finance chief Sateesh Kamath.

Revenue from M-Pesa, which allows users to transfer cash, make payments, borrow and save, jumped 12.6% to 84.4 billion shillings, a third of Safaricom’s service revenue.

Mobile data, where Safaricom has been aggressively fighting for market share by offering internet bundles without expiry, rose 12.1% to 40.7 billion shillings.

The company, which is part-owned by South Africa’s Vodacom (VODJ.J) and Britain’s Vodafone (VOD.L), proposed a dividend of 1.40 shillings per share and said the coronavirus pandemic has made it impossible to issue guidance for the year to March 31, 2021.

“We are operating in unpredictable times,” new CEO Peter Ndegwa told investors on an online briefing.

Reporting by Duncan Miriri; Editing by David Goodman


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