Safaricom ranked Africa’s second most valuable firm
Safaricom emerged the second largest listed company on the continent outside South Africa by market capitalisation as Morocco dominated the listing with eight firms in the top 20.
Data from African-markets.com, an online capital markets tracking platform shows that the country’s leading telecommunications service provider was valued at Sh1.4 trillion on the last day of trading last year.
However, Safaricom’s valuation was a far cry from Botswana’s Anglo American which was valued at Sh2.9 trillion making it the largest listed company on the continent outside South Africa.
The performance of Safaricom was boosted by foreign investors due to its visibility as the most profitable firm in the East Africa region.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Safaricom was also seen as a key safe haven as retail traders dumped other companies in favour of Safaricom, Equity and KCB Bank. Safaricom was the only Kenyan company that featured in the top 20 biggest counters on the continent, opening a wide a gap with KCB, Equity and East African Breweries Ltd (EABL).
The top 20 companies on the continent are dominated by telcos, banks and manufacturing, a stark contrast to the other continents at a time when the biggest companies in the largest economies of the world are internet companies.
This shows that Africa is lagging behind the information age. Mobile termination fees Safaricom, regarded as a monopoly by its competitors, is currently in a battle with the regulator following the slashing of the mobile termination fees which the telco was using as part of its arsenal to keep competition at bay.
The telecommunications firm has opposed the lowering of interconnection rates by the Communications Authority of Kenya. The Authority cut the rate mobile phone operators charge each other for interconnecting customers by Sh. 0.87 or 87.7 percent, signalling lower call tariffs.
The East Africa’s most profitable company has made an entry into Ethiopia, the second most populous nation on the continent in what could propel it to the top of the continent despite its limited footprint on the continent.
Safaricom controls 87 per cent of telecom revenue and 99 per cent of mobile money deposits. More than half of Kenya’s gross domestic product (GDP) is transacted on Safaricom services
The third and fourth largest companies in Africa are all in Morocco’s telcom and banking sectors. These are Maroc telcom and Attijariwata Bank. Dangote Cement is fifth while MTN and Airtel all in Nigeria close the top eight market leaders with manufacturing and telcom still in the lead.
Morocco has eight companies in the 20 most capitalised companies, a major statement on the role of Morocco in Africa’s economic standing despite its limited geographical size.
Four big counters Nigeria has five companies at the top while Egypt has four big counters. Kenya, Botswana and Ivory Coast have only one company in the top 20 perhaps underlining poorly diversified economies of the mother countries. South Africa’s Naspers, Standard Bank and BNP Paribus and Anglo Gold are perhaps among the biggest players on the African market.