Shareholders follow proceedings during a past Safaricom annual general meeting in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG Safaricom is set to pay an interim dividend of Ksh18 billion ($164 million) equivalent to Ksh0.45 per share for the first time, citing good financial performance and the need to support investors amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The telco will pay the dividend on or about March 31 to shareholders on record as of March 5.
“This is in recognition of the company’s solid half-year performance and to support our shareholders during these difficult economic times occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic,” Safaricom said in a statement on Thursday.
The National Treasury is one of the biggest beneficiaries of the surprise dividend announcement and will get a gross payout of Ksh6.3 billion ($57.5 million) for its 35 per cent stake in the country’s most profitable firm.
Multinationals Vodacom Group Limited and Vodafone Group Plc will share a gross payout of Ksh7.2 billion ($65.7 million) for their combined 40 per cent interest in the Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed company.
Safaricom’s net profit in the half-year ended September dropped six per cent to Ksh33 billion ($301.5 million) due to the removal of fees on M-Pesa transactions of up to Ksh1,000 ($9.14) to support customers during Covid-19 period.
Its performance in the full year ending March is expected to show an improvement following the reinstatement of charges on low-value M-Pesa transactions starting January 1, a boost to earnings in the last quarter.
The interim dividend has accelerated payouts to shareholders who normally receive the cash distributions once in August or September.