Category Archives: M-Pesa

Vodacom buys Vodafone Stake at Safaricom

Early this morning a surprising news story first appeared at Bloomberg about Vodacom buying shares at Safaricom. Early interpretations of the story had the Kenya government selling their entire 35% of their most valuable investment to Vodacom.

But later, the official statement from Vodafone (and Safaricom) confirmed that Vodafone was the one selling 35% of their shareholding to Vodacom. It includes a statement by Safaricom CEO, Bob Collymore that the deal “promotes the continued successful expansion of the company as well as the opportunity to drive M-PESA to other markets in the continent.”

  • Safaricom had announced another record earnings year year, last week.
  • Will there be a rebrand to Vodacom? Safari com may be constrained by operating in Kenya. Vodacom just had an IPO in Tanzania whose outcome is pending and M-Pesa has had tremendous strides in Tanzania.
  •  Former Safaricom CEO Michael Joseph resigned from the Vodafone a month ago to concentrate on his role as Kenya Airways Chairman.
  • Vodafone will remain with 5% of Safaricom – down from 39.93%.

Simplifying M-Pesa Payments with 1Tap

As they announced their 2017 financial results today, Safaricom also unveiled 1Tap – the next step of innovation to drive increased financial inclusion in Keyna.

M-Pesa is ten years old and CEO Bob Collymore said that Safaricom was launching “Mpesa 1 tap”  which would reduce the number of steps to complete an M-Pesa transaction, currently about 8 steps on SMS and USSD, to just 1 step.

At the result announcement, the Safaricom CFO Sateesh Kamath said that while 75% of M-Pesa revenue was from traditional person to person transfers, 25% was new from new business like “Lipa na Mpesa” (pay with M-pesa) payments.

Buy Goods is free for customers, except at petrol stations which levy an additional charge, and just over a month ago, Safaricom announced a 50% tariff reduction for all Lipa Na M-PESA Buy Goods merchant fees – to 0.5% of the transaction amount. These were also was capped to Kshs 200 for any payments over Kshs 40,000 (~$400) while payments to merchants below Kshs 200 were made free. Lipa Na M-pesa is used by over 50,000 merchants and Safaricom plans to enable more kiosks, boda-bodas, newspaper vendors and other merchants who are in the informal sector where 80% of Kenyan work to receive such vital business payments at no cost.

Merchants can also get instant payments into their bank accounts at any of 23 partner banks (of the 40 banks in Kenya) from a Lipa Na M-pesa menu in their phones in just a few seconds – and this is useful as many of the merchants don’t have time to go to the bank to deposit cash.

With 1 Tap, all a customer needs to do is tap their cards on the mobile POS machines and then enter their secret M-Pesa PIN to confirm the transaction. Pilot testing for Mpesa 1 Tap has been ongoing in Nakuru where the service now has 13,000 customers and 900 merchants. Kenyans briefly got to see what NFC could work with the Beba Pay service a few years ago, with payments in public service vehicles.

Safaricom Exceeds Earnings Expectations, Powered by M-Pesa and Data

At their Nairobi headquarters today, Kenya communications company, Safaricom announced another record year with the release of the Safaricom 2017 results, which CEO Bob Collymore credited to a focus on customers, innovative products and improving operations.

The company reported revenue of Kshs 204 billion (~$2 billion), an increase of 15% from the year before, and an astounding EBITDA of Kshs 103 billion ($1 billion), up from 83 billion in 2016. M-Pesa growth was 33% to Kshs 55 billion as the number of active M-Pesa customers increased to 19 million – who do an average of 10 transactions a month. The number of customers also went up 12% to 28.1 million.

Later, their CFO said the results came even as customers enjoyed lower costs of voice calls, SMS and money payments. Under “M-Pesa” Kadogo, the company waived M-Pesa tariffs for payments below Kshs 100 ($1) in a push to drive financial inclusion and this led to an 88% growth in transactions in that band.

Chairman Nicholas Nganga said that “Sustaining this growth is key to the Board” as he announced that the contract of Bob Collymore had been extended for an additional two years. Collymore, in turn, said that at a time when several Kenyan companies were announcing job losses, Safaricom had added 500 new jobs during the year and would be adding another 270 mainly in customer care.

Going forward, Safaricom will be changing their earning outlook from projecting EBITDA to projecting EBIT (earnings before interest & taxes) – and for 2018 they project EBIT to be between Kshs 71 to 75 billion after capital expenditure of between Kshs 35 and 38 billion that will be spent in 2017/18.

Following the release of the Safaricom 2017 results, their shareholders will get a dividend of Kshs 0.97 per share, equal to 80% of the profit, is an increase of 27% from 2016 – excluding the one-time bonus dividend paid out last year. The payment will total Kshs 38.8 billion, and 35% of that goes to the Kenya government as the second largest shareholder after Vodafone.

Kenya Fintech Tools for Youth

A rundown of local fintech tools for phones available in Kenya, both from banks and non-banks. Most don’t give you much access to all their features till you register and It’s not clear where the user data for some of them ends up. They are mostly there for android phones, less so for iPhones. Take a spin, and share feedback if you have used them.

Non Bank One’s

Abacus helps novice or pro traders, understand and trade at the Nairobi Securities Exchange.

From CIC Group comes Bima Credo with which people can get life insurance by buying and using airtime credit. This enables consumers to pay for their life insurance premiums in affordable amounts and as part of their daily mobile airtime usage.

Mula: (Android only) is a bill payment service from Cellulant. One can pay all bills in one place, and track past payments, pay for Nairobi City parking and buy items for friends on any network. You will never forget a (recurring) bill, as Mula is fully integrated with Safaricom’s M-Pesa API so this means no copying and pasting transaction details. All you have to do is accept or decline the transaction. Another review by Moses.

M-Shwari Take part in the #52WeekChallenge With M-Shwari that locks savings and one will be able to save Kshs 68,500 ($685) a year, a handy sum, just by small periodic installments.

Open World has Open Business, a point of sale app for small businesses. They can use it to track sales and inventory in real-time. No long-term contract is required, just Kshs 500 (~$5). The app is a bottom-up fintech tool for SMEs that will enable data based lending from banks and alternative lenders.

The Safaricom App now comes with M-PESA functions and can be downloaded to Android and iOS smartphones.  The app enables customers to select contacts from their phone when sending money and customers. Aside from that, merchants will also enjoy faster payments through Lipa Na M-PESA to their accounts at 23 banks ..this will cut down the time that it takes to move money from a Lipa Na M-PESA till to a bank account from as much as 28 hours down to seconds.

Uhasibu has payroll which simplifies payroll management, including statutory payments to a half-dozen government agencies that businesses have to make every month, and these include different taxes. Another review by  Moses.

Zeep (Android): Enables teens to learn finance in a secure environment. Their parent/guardians register (*823#) then also link and register to their children/ beneficiaries/ dependents numbers. They can use the app to make payments for NHIF, land rates and business permits. They can also allocate weekly amounts to teens and watch as they pay for utilities and other bills.

Bank One’s

CBA has Loop which is geared toward the young hustler or someone who needs banking for a side gig. Tagged as unbank yourself, users, once they register and get a debit card, can pay bills and categorize items to spend on and track these against set budgets e.g. see how much they spend on food & dining., transport ( Uber) , or rent. The can also check balances, and see a financial snapshot at any time. Another review by Macharia.

Equity has Eazzy banking platform from Finserve. One can store billing details to pay after and also send money securely to another phone or bank account, pay for goods and services, buy airtime for EquiTel and other networks. One can also set and save for a goal, send money to favorite people (contacts on whatsapp, twitter, facebook) and apply for loans instantly of up to Kshs 3 Million (~or $30,000)  and track NSE shares.

Stanbic has a Kidz banking app (available in South Africa) – an educational and fun app that teaches children how to save and manage their pocket money. Kids earn money when they complete their chores and can save towards goals while parents get to approve payments, set and monitor tasks, etc.

Other banks like Coop and KCB have accounts tailored for children and young adults with extras such as book & uniform discounts and education & insurance policies, but it would be nice if they added financial education tools and apps dedicated to those bank accounts.

Vodacom IPO launched in Tanzania: a Prospectus Peek

Quick note excerpts from the 140-page Vodacom IPO prospectus. There’s even a Swahili version  (PDF) of this Vodacom Tanzania PLC prospectus.

About Vodacom

  • Vodacom Tanzania PLC is a subsidiary of Vodacom Group (South Africa), which in turn is a subsidiary of Vodafone Group Plc (UK). Vodacom Group Limited is the beneficial owner of 82.15% of Vodacom Tanzania. Mirambo Limited directly holds the remaining 17.85%.
  • Vodacom is Tanzania’s leading mobile operator. Market share: Vodacom Tanzania (31% ), Tigo (29%), Airtel (26%), Halotel (7%), Zantel (4%), Smart Telecom (2%), TTCL (1%)
  • In 2016 Vodacom had 12.38 million customers (including 5.4 million active data customers) and an ARPU of TZS 5,972. Vodacom Tanzania has 570 employees, 189 nationwide retail points, in excess of 17,000 freelance distributors and 75,000 mobile money agents.
    Vodacom is part of a “consortium” (with Tigo, Airtel, Zantel) that has constructed about 400 km of metro fibre, in Dar es Salaam, Dodoma, Morogoro, Mwanza and Arusha, as well as over 1,300 km of backbone fibre linking the major cities of Dar es Salaam, Dodoma, Arusha and Moshi.
  • Vodacom Tanzania estimates that the total net proceeds from the Vodacom IPO issue of 560 million new shares, after deducting expenses (and assuming that the offer is fully subscribed), will be TZS 469 billion (~$210 million)

Use of proceeds:

  • Vodacom Tanzania intends to apply such net proceeds to:
    (i) The execution of inorganic growth opportunities geared towards growing and maintaining Vodacom Tanzania’s leading market position (elsewhere the prospectus mentions that Vodacom Tanzania may consider mergers, acquisitions or strategic investments),
    (ii) Working capital augmentation for Vodacom Tanzania; and
    (iii) general corporate purposes for Vodacom Tanzania (elsewhere it mentions that part of the Vodacom IPO proceeds will be used to repay loans from the Vodacom Group and Mirambo).

Risks & Regulation

  • (this is a) Forced listing & IPO: The Company converted from a private limited company to a public limited company in November 2016. Following the 2016 Finance Act, all licensed telecommunication operators are to have a minimum local shareholding of 25% of their authorized share capital issued to the public and listed on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE).. penalties may be imposed by TCRA should the IPO not take place within six months from 1 July 2016.

Non-compliance:

  • The Bank of Tanzania allowed Vodacom Tanzania to continue offering Mobile Money Services whilst the license applications are pending (it has applied for Payment System License and will apply for an Electronic Money Issuer License)
  • Vodacom Tanzania is also working on forming a separate M-Pesa corporate entity to comply with regulations.
  • Vodacom Tanzania is working on a project plan to migrate all its Network Operating Centre (NOC) operations to Tanzania to comply with an in-country NOC requirement.
  • Vodacom Tanzania is also working on network optimisation and modernisation initiatives to ensure compliance with Quality of service (QOS) obligations.

Government Moves

  •  Issuance of new licenses: presents a risk to the profitability of the company. The awarding of a new license to a new operator last year saw the advent of an eighth licensee to an already intensively competitive market. 99% of Vodacom Tanzania’s customers are prepaid (But) It is unlikely that there will be a new entrant into the Tanzania telecommunication market. Any new player in the Tanzania market should not pose a significant competitive challenge in the period to 31 March 2018 because of market penetration and lead time to setting up a telecommunication network.
  • Spectrum: Vodacom Tanzania is on record that it requires additional spectrum to meet quality of service requirements (QOS), especially for data services. The decisions taken by the Government on the timing, fees, and allocation of digital dividend and other spectrum will have a major impact on Vodacom Tanzania’s ability to serve its customers,
  • Tax Risks:  “The complex tax environment in Tanzania poses a number of challenges to Vodacom Tanzania.”  Two new taxes going up may affect Vodacom Tanzania’s profitability: Draft amendments to the UCSAF Regulations seek to increase the service levy from 0.3% of service revenue to 1% of service revenue while a draft revision of the Local Government Finances Act (LGFA) proposes an increase in the rate of service levy charged from the current 0.3% to 1.5% of turnover net of value added tax and excise duty for all businesses. The LGFA further proposes to empower local government authorities to impose levies on telecommunication transmission towers.
  • Vodacom Tanzania already has a number of tax matters and litigations that are pending at various appellate levels. Tax litigation with the Tanzania authorities over TZS 100 billion  (~$51m) calculated on issues like undersea fibre, towers, foreign exchange, losses, withholding taxes, VAT, roaming, interconnection licenses capital allowance). There’s also a potential $500 million from a tort conspiracy case over frequency allocation and a half dozen other staff cases.

Performance:

  • Vodacom Tanzania’s audited annual Accounts for the years ended 2014 and 2015 showed a profit before tax was TZS 166 billion in 2014, TZS 78 billion in 2015 (from revenue of TZS 908 billion). For 2016 it was 74 billion in 2016 (from revenue of TZS 923 billion)
  • They project a project a pre-tax profit of TZS 82 billion for March 2017 and  TZS 137 billion for March 2018

Strategies

  • Continue to grow M-Pesa There has been the phenomenal success story of mobile financial services in Tanzania, where Vodacom Tanzania remains the market leader in terms of customer share and has significant brand equity…Vodacom M-Pesa makes up in excess of 20% of Vodacom Tanzania’s service revenues
  • Benefit from Vodafone: Vodacom Tanzania will, however, remain part of the Vodafone Group and will continue to benefit from their scale of operations and expertise.
  • Vodacom Tanzania may consider mergers, acquisitions or strategic investments.

Other Companies

  • In 2016, the Group acquired 100% of Shared Networks Tanzania (SNT) from its shareholders for $15 million
  • The group remains committed to its decision to exit its investment in Helios Towers Tanzania (HTT ), an associate in which the group holds a direct investment of 23.78%. In September 2013, Vodacom Tanzania PLC decided to sell and lease back its passive equipment to HTT.

Vodacom IPO Expenses

Issue expenses are estimated at TZS 7.1 billion (about $3.9 million) and include amounts for the lead advisor and sponsoring broker’s fees (Orbit Securities) TZS 650M, lead receiving bank fees (National Bank of Commerce) TZS 872M, Capital Markets & Securities Authority fees TZS 283M, Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange listing fee of TZS 1 billion, and all authorised collecting agents will share TZS 3.8 billion.

For Investors

  • 560 million new shares (or 25%) are being sold, and all the shares will be listed on the DSE. Vodacom IPO shares will only be sold to Tanzanian citizens and entities incorporated in Tanzania in which Tanzanian citizens have a majority beneficial ownership (no shares for East Africans unlike previous IPO’s in the region)
  • The minimum investment is TZS 85,000, equal to about $38 or KES 3,926. This is for 100 shares at TZS 850, and after that buy in multiple of  10 shares.
  • Buy via phone: Using their phones, Tanzanians can apply for shares through the DSE platform (dialling *150*36#) and also pay for shares via M-Pesa (by dialling *150*00# and entering the business number 236622, and a unique DSE reference number)
  • After the IPO. the public will own 25% alongside (Vodacom and Mirambo), and the dividend policy is to pay out at least 50% of earnings after tax but at the discretion of the board of directors. (31 March 2016 EPS was 34.65 TZS and the group expects to pay dividends of TZS 16.5 billion in FY17.
  • Timetable: The Vodacom IPO opened on 9th March, and closes on 19th April. The results will be announced on April 28, the listing will be on 16 May, and an AGM is scheduled for 1st June 2017.

Will the Vodacom IPO be as successful as the Safaricom IPO was in Kenya a decade ago?  The Vodacom IPO certainly seems to be selling well, attracting lots of first time Tanzania investors, in the first two days.
100 USD equals 223,000 TZS and 100 KES = TZS 2,165.