NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya’s Safaricom Plc posted a rise of 7.7 percent in first-half service revenue, driven by growth in its mobile financial services and data, the telecom firm said on Friday.
The company, part-owned by South Africa’s Vodacom and Britain’s Vodafone, said its earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) in the first half, ended September, jumped 18.7 percent, resulting in a 22-percent increase in its earnings per share.
Total revenue, which includes sales of mobile handsets and other one-off items, came in at 122.84 billion shillings ($1.21 billion) compared with 114.43 billion shillings in the same period last year.
The telecom operator’s service revenue, which includes earnings from core business such as voice calls, was 118.21 billion shillings, compared with 109.73 billion shillings last year.
The operator said it posted a rapid growth in its popular M-Pesa mobile money service, mobile data and fixed data businesses. M-Pesa allows people to send each other money and make payments at the touch of a button.
Revenue from that service jumped 18.2 percent to 35.52 billion shillings.
The company is concerned by the impact of higher mobile telephony and data taxes on the business, Chief Executive Bob Collymore said.
The government hiked the tax rate to 15 percent from 10 percent in September as it sought to boost revenue. Following which, Safaricom and other operators also raised the retail prices of their services.
“We hope that the government will reconsider its position on those taxes,” Collymore said at an investor briefing.
($1 = 101.6000 Kenyan shillings)
Reporting by Duncan Miriri; Editing by Aaron Maasho and Sherry Jacob-Phillips