Safaricom, Kenya’s biggest telecommunications operator, posted a drop in its full-year core earnings as the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic cut revenue from financial services and calls, though it predicted a recovery based on second-half numbers.
The firm, partly owned by South Africa’s Vodacom and Britain’s Vodafone, said on Thursday its earnings before interest and taxes fell to 96.2-billion shillings (R12.7-billion) in the year ended 31 March, from 101.5-billion shillings a year earlier.
Safaricom said revenue from its M-Pesa financial services platform dropped after it reduced tariffs on small peer-to-peer transfers, in line with a government directive aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus through cash notes.
The drop was partly offset by an 11.5% jump in revenue from home Internet services as the population worked and studied at home for most of the year.
The company expects core earnings to rise between 105-billion shillings and 108-billion shillings in this financial year as the economy recovers from the coronavirus crisis, CEO Peter Ndegwa said.
Safaricom set a final dividend of 0.92 shillings per share, adding onto an interim dividend of 0.45 shillings per share that was issued after the first-half results.