Safaricom, Kenya’s biggest telecoms operator, said on Friday its core earnings for the full year rose to 89.6 billion shillings (R12.8 billion). File Photo: IOL

NAIROBI – Safaricom, Kenya’s biggest telecoms operator, said on Friday its core earnings for the full year rose to 89.6 billion shillings (R12.8 billion).

The company had reported an earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) of 79.3 billion shillings in the previous year.

Safaricom, which is partly owned by South Africa’s Vodacom and Britain’s Vodafone, said rapid growth in M-Pesa digital financial business had offset a sharp slowdown in the growth of its internet access provision business.

Revenue from the data business grew by 6.4 percent during the year, plunging from a growth on 24 percent a year earlier, Sateesh Kamath, the company’s chief financial officer, told an investors’ briefing.

M-Pesa was launched more than a decade ago to offer Kenyans without bank accounts a network to transfer cash via mobile phones. It now offers a range of payment services, loans and savings to more than 21 million people in Kenya and has been copied abroad.

The company, which is the most profitable in East Africa, said it expected EBIT to rise to 93-97 billion shillings in its financial year to the end of next March. It boosted its dividend per share for the year to 1.25 shillings, and proposed a special dividend of 0.62 shillings.

Reuters