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State beats parastatals dividend target in Safaricom’s Sh26bn pay

The National Treasury building in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG
The National Treasury building in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Safaricom’s proposed special dividend to shareholders has broken the Treasury’s projected revenue from public investments in the year starting July by Sh10.72 billion.

The Treasury is now set to pocket Sh26.22 billion from 14.02 billion shares (a 35 per cent stake) held by the taxpayers in the giant telecoms operator, up from Sh15.50 billion it had budgeted for in the estimates to the National Assembly in April.

The firm’s board on Friday proposed a special dividend of Sh0.62 per share after net profit for the year ended March 2019 rose 14.7 per cent to Sh63.40 billion.

With proposed normal per share dividend raised by nearly 13.64 per cent to Sh1.25 compared with a year earlier, shareholders are now set to earn a cumulative Sh1.87 per share when the special offer is factored.

The Treasury’s expected windfall from the most valuable company in East and Central Africa will be 69.52 percent more than Sh15.42 billion earned in the current year ending in June.

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Safaricom’s proposed dividends will push up the Treasury's estimates of expected investment income from State corporations, agencies and other organisations to Sh31.04 billion up from Sh20.32 billion in the current year.

The firm, whose 25 percent stake is controlled by investing public through the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE), will contribute about 84.47 percent of the government’s projected dividend income next financial year, up from 76.35 percent in the current year.

KCB Group, another NSE-listed firm partly owned by the State, is expected to contribute Sh1.2 billion to the Treasury’s dividend income purse for the nearly 17.5 per cent stake, or 536.54 million shares, owned by taxpayers.

Final dividend

The bank has already paid a Sh1 per share interim dividend, with Sh2 final dividend to be paid later in the year, bringing the total per share payout to Sh3.50 (nearly Sh1.88 billion to the Treasury) from Sh3.00 a year earlier. KCB’s net profit in 2018 jumped 21.8 per cent to Sh24 billion.

The Treasury also expects to earn Sh1 billion from electricity producer, KenGen where it controls a 70 per cent stake, unchanged from the current year.

Dividend income from Kenya Power is forecast at Sh500 million, 66.67 per cent more than Sh300 million this year ending June.

Other listed firms expected to contribute dividend revenue to the exchequer are Kenya Re (Sh350 million), Stanbic Holdings (Sh30 million), Liberty Kenya (Sh20 million), HF Group (Sh15 million) and NSE Plc (Sh3.5 million).

Non-listed entities expected to contribute dividends include the Central Bank of Kenya (Sh800 million), the Kenya Pipeline Company (Sh300 million), the Kenya Airports Authority (Sh130 million) and the Kenya Ports Authority (Sh100 million).

New KCC, PTA Re, the Kenya Literature Bureau, African Exim Bank, Africa Re and the National Housing Corporation are expected to pay the State dividends of between Sh3.5 million and Sh50 million each.

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