Crystal Telecom returns to profit after MTN rebound

Crystal Telecom has a 20 per cent stake in MTN Rwanda that it has floated on the local bourse through the Rwanda Stock Exchange.
Iza Irame (left), the chief executive of Crystal Telecom, and Bart Hofker, the chief executive of MTN Rwanda, at Crystal Telecom Annual General Assembly Friday morning. / Sam Ngendahimana

Crystal Telecom has recovered from a slump it suffered in 2017 to register a profit of Rwf1.5 billion in 2018, earning shareholders dividends amounting to about Rwf1.2 billion.

Crystal Telecom has a 20 per cent stake in MTN Rwanda that it has floated on the local bourse through the Rwanda Stock Exchange.  

But the difficulties MTN Rwanda faced in 2017 saw Crystal Telecom shareholders miss out on a dividend payout at the time.

In 2018, MTN Rwanda registered a profit of Rwf7.7 billion, bouncing back from the Rwf8.5 billion loss it suffered in 2017 largely due to heavy fines from the regulator and tax authorities.

MTN Rwanda was at the time forced to cough up a whopping Rwf15.5 billion in fines by the regulator, Rwanda Utilities and Regulatory Authorities (RURA), and Rwanda Revenue Authority.  

On the back of that loss, stakeholders demanded at last year’s annual general meeting that the telecom company significantly improves its compliance to all national laws and regulations. Noncompliance, they said, cost them dividends and resulted in a drop in the firm’s share value.

But the company has since realised a change in fortunes, with Crystal Telecom shareholders Friday morning approving a dividend payout amounting to a gross of Rwf4.552 per share. It is subject to a withholding tax – 5 per cent for East African Community residents and 15 per cent for non-EAC residents.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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