Safaricom cuts interim dividend for second straight year to Sh23bn

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From Left; CEO of Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia PLC Wim Vanhelleputte, CEO of Safaricom PLC Peter Ndegwa and Chief Finance Officer Dilip Pal during Safaricom’s 2023/2024 half year financial results announcement on November 9, 2023, at Michael Joseph Centre. FILE PHOTO | BILLY OGADA | NMG

Safaricom has announced a Sh0.55 interim dividend per share amounting to Sh23.03 billion, marking the second consecutive year the telco is cutting the payout to investors.

The telco said Thursday the board had approved the payout related to the financial year ending March 2024 in a meeting held a day earlier.

“The board of Safaricom PLC is pleased to announce that at its meeting that was held on 21 February 2024, it was resolved to approve the payment of an interim dividend of Sh0.55 per ordinary share held amounting to Sh23.03 billion, for the year ending 31 March 2024,” it said.

“The interim dividend will be payable to shareholders on the register of members as at the close of business on 15th March 2024 and will be paid on or about 31st March 2024.”

The latest payout is a decrease from Sh0.58 per share interim payout amounting to Sh23.24 billion that had been issued to investors on the preceding financial year results.

The latest cut in interim dividend is despite the telco’s net profit for the half year ended September 2023 growing 2.1 percent to Sh34.2 billion.

Safaricom introduced interim dividends in 2021 when it paid Sh0.45 per share amounting to Sh18.03 billion and raised this to Sh0.64 a piece, totaling Sh25.64 billion in 2021 before it started cutting the payout.

The telco has been coinciding the cut in the interim dividend with a fall in the final dividend. Safaricom’s final dividend has been on a decline from Sh0.92 per share in 2021 to Sh0.75 and Sh0.62 in 2022 and 2023 respectively.

The total payout for the financial year ended March 2021 was Sh54.89 billion before dropping to Sh55.69 billion in the year ended March 2022. The payout declined further to Sh48.08 billion in the year to March 2023.

Safaricom’s net profit for the full year ended March 2022 dropped by 1.7 percent to Sh67.49 billion. Net profits had also retreated by 6.8 percent in the previous year to Sh68.67 billion, which was the first full-year earnings drop in nine years.

The telco’s share on the Nairobi Securities Exchange has endured a tough period, coming from a peak of Sh44.66 per share on August 23, 2021 to the Sh13.40 it opened trading with on Thursday. In 2024, it has already shed 3.6 percent.

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