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Safaricom is set to pay an interim dividend of Sh18 billion equivalent to Sh0.45 per share, citing improved financial performance.


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.


The National Treasury is one of the biggest beneficiaries of the surprise dividend announcement and will get a gross payout of Sh6.3 billion for its 35 percent stake in the country’s most profitable firm.

Multinationals Vodacom Group Limited and Vodafone Group Plc will share a gross payout of Sh7.2 billion for their combined 40 percent interest in the Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed company.


Safaricom’s net profit in the half year ended September dropped six percent to Sh33 billion due to removal of fees on M-Pesa transactions of up to Sh1,000.


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.


Safaricom is expected to announce a final dividend when it releases its results for the year ending March. The telco has a policy of paying out at least 80 percent of net income as dividends.


Safaricom is among the listed companies that are maintaining dividend payouts since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, with a significant number of firms expected to suspend cash distributions as a result of weaker earnings.


Business Daily Africa