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Vodacom taking Vodafone's stake in Kenya's Safaricom
16 May 2017, 10:18 | Jan Cross
As part of the transaction, Vodafone Group has given appropriate assurances to the government of Kenya to ensure the ongoing success of the long standing partnership between Safaricom, Vodafone Group and the government.
Vodacom is obtaining a 34.94% stake in Kenya's Safaricom from its parent firm Vodafone Group.
"The proposed transaction presents a unique opportunity to acquire a significant strategic interest in the premier telecom operator in East Africa", said Vodacom. A similar all-share deal with Vodacom for Vodafone Ghana would boost Vodafone's stake in the South African unit even more, aggravating the float issue, he said.
Vodafone will retain a 12.5 percent interest in Vodafone Kenya, equivalent to a 4.99 percent stake in Safaricom, the companies said.
Vodacom added nearly 3m customers in South Africa in the year ended 31 March, helping service revenue increase by 5,6%, the telecommunications group said on Monday.
For the year, group Ebitda - a measure of operating performance - grew by 2,9% to R31,2m, up 7,1% (excluding the impact of currency fluctuations), with margins improving by 0,5 percentage points to 38,4%.
The acquisition gives Newbury, England-based Vodafone control of two of Africa's biggest mobile-phone companies, the market leaders in their respective home markets, and follows deals in India and the Netherlands.
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"The sustained demand for data remains a key driver for growth with active data users up 8,3% in South Africa and 29,3% across our global operations".
Safaricom's mobile money platform, M-Pesa, is an important driver of Kenyan economic growth, providing essential financial services to over 19-million 30-day active customers.
The group declared a final dividend of R4.35, taking its total for the year to R8.30, a 4.4% raise on the previous year's R7.95. Vodacom scrapped the service in South Africa altogether a year ago amid poor uptake by consumers.
The group's service revenue increased 2.3% and group revenue was up 1.5% during the year under review, a reflection of the strategies the company had set for itself.
Analysts have previously said that M-Pesa, which has struggled to gain traction in some of the continent's more developed economies such as South Africa, doesn't hold much value for consumers who are already included in the formal banking sector.
Based on Friday's JSE closing price of R152.49 per Vodacom share, this values the proposed transaction at R34.6 billion.
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