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Safaricom looks beyond borders for profit growth

Safaricom Chairman Nicholas Ng’ang’a, (left) and Chief Financial Officer Sateesh Kamath speaks during the announcement of the company’s  2017/2018 half year results in Nairobi on November 3. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NMG
Safaricom Chairman Nicholas Ng’ang’a, (left) and Chief Financial Officer Sateesh Kamath speaks during the announcement of the company’s 2017/2018 half year results in Nairobi on November 3. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NMG 

Safaricom #ticker:SCOM is looking to grow its top line by expanding its footprint across Africa starting with Kenya’s neighbours, the company said on Friday.

Chairman Nicholas Ng’ang’a said the expansion plans had gained impetus following recent ownership changes at the company, which he said allowed the telco to set up shop in underserved areas in the region.

Safaricom’s parent firm British multinational Vodafone, on August 7 transferred its 35 per cent stake in the company to its South African subsidiary Vodacom.

“For Safaricom, this reorganisation has given us an expanded mandate to explore opportunities outside Kenya,” said Mr Ng’ang’a at the company’s half-year investor briefing held on Friday.

“We are currently looking at this market and once we pick an investment option we will share more details.”

Chief financial officer Sateesh Kamath, who is sitting in for Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore who has taken sick leave, said the expansion will be done through forming partnerships.

“The model is asset-lite where we do not go and invest millions and millions. It will be partner-based and platform-based,” he said.

Safaricom had earlier said the Vodafone/Vodacom transaction now frees it to take its mobile financial services to other African countries, triggering the planned safeguards against potential conflict of interest by the UK-based multinational in the expansion plan.

The share swap was expected to bring to an end a clause that barred Safaricom from venturing outside Kenya as this would be in direct competition to Vodacom.

While Safaricom would still not be free to enter Vodacom markets in Africa, it would now move to new countries where the South African firm does not have a presence.

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