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Longhorn targets more African expansion

CENTUM INVESTMENT COMPANY LIMITED CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER JAMES MWORIA SPEAKS DURING THE BELL RINGING TO COMMENCE TRADING FOR LONGHORN PUBLISHERS AT THE NSE IN NAIROBI ON MAY 31, 2016. FILE PHOTO | NMG
CENTUM INVESTMENT COMPANY LIMITED CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER JAMES MWORIA SPEAKS DURING THE BELL RINGING TO COMMENCE TRADING FOR LONGHORN PUBLISHERS AT THE NSE IN NAIROBI ON MAY 31, 2016. FILE PHOTO | NMG  

Longhorn Publishers targets further expansion across Africa buoyed by its new digital products, the company said.

Besides its Kenyan operations, Longhorn has subsidiaries in Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda and has entered into strategic partnerships in Senegal, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Malawi, Zambia and Ethiopia.

“We have already started Francophone expansion and that’s why we are in Senegal. From there we are poised to expand to Burkina Faso, Djibouti and Congo through distributor models. After that we will go to Arabic Africa,” the group managing director Simon Ngigi said on the sidelines of an investor briefing in Nairobi on Friday.

Digital publications are more efficient and cheaper to distribute across markets compared to the hard copy products.

The Centum-owned publisher on Friday announced a 29 per cent rise in profit after tax for the year ended June 30, 2017 powered by cost-savings and strong regional sales.

The NSE-listed firm’s net profit increased to Sh133.87 million in the period compared to Sh104 million a year earlier even as its turnover went down marginally.

Its turnover dropped 3 per cent to Sh1.4 billion in the period as reduced sales in Kenya took its toll on the publisher’s bottom line. However, regional diversification paid off as total regional sales in Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Rwanda and Senegal contributed 30 per cent of the group’s turnover as compared to 20 per cent in the previous year.

A 9 per cent drop in production and operating expenses boosted the company’s performance. Longhorn recently laid off workers to stem costs and increase efficiency with Mr Ngigi setting savings at Sh80 million during the reporting period.

“Despite the reduction in turnover, the group improved its profitability due to an increased emphasis on cost management and production efficiencies,” said the company.

The firm said it will boost new revenue streams in line with its plan to shift its content to digital platforms with an eye on the multi-billion shilling primary schools computerisation programme.

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