Safaricom Mobile Data Service Bumps Full-Year Profits 39 Percent

Written by Makula Dunbar

Safaricom Ltd., which rivals East African Breweries Ltd. as Kenya’s largest company by market value, said full-year profit surged 39 percent as revenue from data services increased.

Net income jumped to 17.5 billion shillings ($209 million) in the 12 months through March from 12.6 billion shillings a year earlier, Chief Financial Officer John Tombleson told reporters today in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital. The median estimate of eight analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was 17.2 billion shillings.

Sales grew 16 percent to 124.3 billion shillings, helped by a 29 percent increase in non-voice revenue.
Mobile-phone companies are looking to data services such as mobile Internet for revenue growth as voice markets mature. Operators including Safaricom, 40 percent owned by Vodafone Group Plc (VOD), are also offering African customers banking through their mobile phones to help many of them gain access to financial services for the first time.

Growth in non-voice revenue is “underpinning our strategy to diversify our revenue channels,” Chief Executive Officer Bob Collymore said at a presentation in Nairobi.