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Kenyan mobile firm to hold second AGM

NAIROBI, Kenya Sep 1- Mobile phone operator Safaricom is scheduled to hold its second Annual General Meeting on Thursday at the Bomas of Kenya, Nairobi.

Among the issues to be discussed will be the company’s 2009 financial results, where Directors are expected to report that Safaricom grew its pre-tax profit by 37 percent, from Sh15.3 billion to Sh20.9 billion, driven largely by data business.

Through the year, Safaricom sought to diversify its revenue earnings from predominantly relying on voice. This led to M-PESA and Broadband data revenues growing by 137.6 percent.

The Short Message Service (SMS) earned the operator Sh5.1 billion, M-PESA Sh7.5 billion while fixed Broadband data raked in Sh2.9 billion.

The Board of Directors have recommended a dividend payout of 20 cents per each share held compared to 10 cent per share in 2009, which shareholders will be expected to approve on Thursday.

East Africa’s most profitable listed company has announced that it expects a low turnout at this year’s AGM due to the company’s new cost saving measures.

“As witnessed by the past financial year’s results, the cost savings made from holding a no-frills AGM will be ploughed back into the business to provide our shareholders with a bigger return,” Safaricom Investor Relations Manager Les Baillie said in July as he announced the date for the AGM.

Safaricom Chief Executive Michael Joseph has said in the past that AGMs should focus on educating investors on their investments rather than focus on food and other giveaways.

Last year, the company was able to save as much as Sh351 million by not handing out branded caps, T-shirts or umbrellas as well as not printing the annual reports, which were dispatched electronically.

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Of the 25,000 shareholders expected for the function, only 3,500 turned up and the same can be expected this year. Savings from the no frills AGM are to be reinvested into the company to help it expand operations.

The second AGM will give the shareholders with an opportunity to see the incoming Chief Executive Officer Bob Collymore for the first time.

Mr Collymore will take over from Michael Joseph, who has been at the helm of the company for the last ten years, at the end of November.

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