Nation Media Group (NMG) plans to list its shares in Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda, the company has announced, riding on robust growth of its East African businesses.
The cross-listing, part of the 50th anniversary strategic plans, seeks to spread ownership across the region.
“We are doing very well in these markets and it’s time we give investors in these countries a chance to own a piece of the company,” said Mr Linus Gitahi, the Nation Media Group chief executive.
If approved by shareholders, NMG will join a growing list of firms that have cross-listed their shares, including Kenya Airways, Jubilee Insurance, KCB and Equity Bank.
Addressing an investor briefing meeting at Serena Hotel, Mr Gitahi said the board of directors had also proposed a bonus share issue at the rate of one share for every 10 held.
“This will increase the volume of tradable shares, “reward our loyal base of retail investors and boost our share capital,” he said.
The company’s full-year financial results for 2009 showed a 15.3 drop in pretax profit from Ksh1.9 billion in 2008 to Ksh1.6 billion, while turnover declined by a marginal 0.7 per cent to Ksh8.2 billion from Ksh8.3 billion.
Mr Gitahi attributed this to reduced advertising and growing competition as well as high costs of direct inputs, pushed up by the cost of newsprint that nearly doubled in the first quarter of 2009.
Nation’s share at the Nairobi Stock Exchange defied the drop in profit to gain one shilling in yesterday’s trading to close at Ksh143 after hitting a high Ksh149.
He told investors the company had put in place recovery measures this year, among them improving content of its various media platforms. A retreat in newsprint prices would help cut costs, he said.
In Kenya, NMG owns the Daily Nation, The East African, Business Daily and Taifa Leo, two TV stations (NTV and recently acquired e-Africa) as well as two radio stations, easyfm and QFM.
It owns the Monitor, NTV Uganda and Kfm radio in Uganda, and Mwananchi Publications in Tanzania, which publishes the English newspaper The Citizen and Swahili daily, Mwananchi and Mwanaspot a bi-weekly leading sports publication.
Mr Gitahi said Nation newspaper division revenues grew 2 per cent on the back of a 3 per cent increase in advertising.
He added that the latest Synovate survey showed easyfm as the most popular English radio station and QFM the third most listened to radio station.
Monitor Publication revenues grew 3 per cent, as radio income expanded by an impressive 43 per cent.
“NTV Uganda’s coverage has reached 80 per cent and we plan to roll out into towns of Jinja, Mbale, Masaka and Mbarara as we focus on market growth,” said Mr Gitahi.
Circulation of Mwananchi Publication went up by 12 per cent, lifting revenues by 3 per cent.
Mr Gitahi said a new press would improve performance this year.