News Column

Foreigners raise Safaricom stake by Sh8.1bn

February 13, 2014


Foreign investors bought Safaricom shares currently valued at Sh8.1 billion in the 11 months to November last year, seeking larger dividends and capital gains at the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE).

The telecommunications firm's shareholder register shows that foreign investors bought 691.1 million net shares in the period, reducing the ownership of locals by the same margin.

Foreign investors held 5.4 billion shares in Safaricom in November, up from 4.7 billion January last year, raising their stake to 13.64 per cent from 11.91 per cent.

This excludes the 40 per cent stake held by UK telecom operator Vodafone, whose 16 billion shares are held by an investment vehicle registered in Kenya.

Local shareholders stake has dropped to 34.5 billion shares from 35.2 billion shares in the period to November as they cashed in on Safaricom's rising share price. The increased foreign interest has been linked to Safaricom's improved profitability and a major rally in its stock at the NSE.

The stock has more than doubled the 2008 IPO price and gained 50.3 per cent over the past six months to Sh11.70.

READ: Safaricom gains Sh36.5bn in first ten days of January

Chief executive Bob Collymore in November gave an upbeat forecast of the company's performance in the full year ending March, with its margins set to rise by more than 10 per cent.

"Based on our financial results in the first six months of the year, we have upgraded our full-year guidance," Mr Collymore said. The upbeat forecast came after Safaricom posted a 45 per cent growth in net profit for the half year ended September, helped by higher sales and improved margins.

READ: Safaricom rallies past Sh10 after strong half-year result

Its net profit stood at Sh11.2 billion in the period compared to Sh7.7 billion a year earlier.

Safaricom declared a dividend payout of Sh0.31 per share for the year ended March 2013 compared to Sh0.22 paid a year before.

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Source: Business Daily (Kenya)

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