There is a lot of optimism among Crystal Telecom shareholders who are likely to receive a dividend payout this year after missing out last year as funds went into paying the $8.5 million fine by Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA).
The fine was paid in full last year with funds that would have otherwise been used to pay out dividends as was agreed in last year’s shareholder meeting.
Officials and experts are upbeat over the performance of the firm on the bourse owing to its strong performance in 2017 and investments sunk on upgrading the technical capacity of the telco.
Crystal Telecom was created in 2013 when local investment firm Crystal Ventures shed off its shareholding in MTN Rwanda to its newly incorporated subsidiary with the aim of disposing it through an IPO.
Through an IPO, Crystal Telecom in 2015 floated 270.71 million shares, which is 20 per cent of MTN Rwanda, and the IPO was opened at Rwf105 with the minimum share application at 1,000 shares.
“Notwithstanding the effect of the fine imposed, MTN Rwanda recorded a strong performance during the period and went on to present stronger performance for the full year of 2017, said Iza Irame, the Chief Executive of Crystal Telecom in a statement.
According to Irame, MTN’s revenues grew across all business lines, bolstered by strategy on increasing revenue base growth (consumption per customer).
“Revenues grew by 6% with MTN carrying out specific capital investments in upgrading its network infrastructure and clearing its fine from the industry regulator,” Irame said.
MTN is in the final phase of its massive network modernisation and transformation plan aimed at ensuring seamless data quality and delivering the best customer experience across the country.
“Preparations to start on data modernisation have been ongoing and starting 29th March, we shall begin the final phase of data migration from the old network capacity to the new network capacity for Kigali, which will be complete in the second week of May. This will allow us to be ready for the growing demand on the market,” Mohamad Kiwan the Chief Technology and Information Officer at MTN Rwanda said in the statement.
With the fine replenished, the company is showing strong earnings growth, which is expected to continue into the future as the market continues to grow and the benefits of industry consolidation come through
The Rwandan Stock market is currently experiencing growth with volumes in secondary trading going up by 37 per cent last year largely driven by the recovering equities market and the bond market that nearly tripled.
The number of deals transacted on secondary markets also increased to 179 transactions in 2017 from 99 in 2016, whereas the turnovers increased by 207 per cent, to Rwf 5.2 billion from Rwf 1.7 billion during the period.
According to Rwanda Stock Exchange (RSE) Chief Executive Officer, Pierre-Celestin Rwabukumba, there’s been an increase in investor participation in the market, mainly retail investors largely attributable to continued awareness campaigns done across the country. He urged people to save through the capital markets and companies to raise affordable financing through it.