Malawi Stock-Exchange listed TNM plc says it has invested over K31.5 billion in infrastructure in 2020 as it seeks to align with the global trends in digital transformation.
Addressing a virtual annual general meeting (AGM) last week, TNM plc board chairperson George Partridge said the firm will continue by pioneering innovations that will transform the telecommunications sector in the country.
He, however, bemoaned the low penetration of telecommunication services in the country, which he said stand at 48 percent, which is 42 percent below the regional’s 90 percent average.
Said Partridge: “The smartphone penetration is also very low but growing at a rate of more than 240 percent since 2018. We still have over 55 percent of Malawi’s adult population which does not have access to financial services of any kind.
“This means that the potential for growth of our business is still enormous. With investments that we are putting in infrastructure development and continuous improvement of our business, we expect successful years ahead.”
Looking forward, the chairperson said they foresee the macro-economic environment to remain challenging due to the volatile exchange rates and the Covid-19 pandemic.
He was, however, hopeful that the vaccination programmes would provide a good base for economic recovery.
Responding to a question from a shareholder on the decline of dividends that the company will declare to its shareholders, Partridge, who is group chief executive officer for TNM plc majority shareholder Press Corporation plc, said dividends declined and has been below inflation.
“The dividend policy of your company is to pay out between 40 percent to 60 percent of the distributable profits for that year. The policy was framed that way to ensure that the company is able to invest in capital expenditure for future growth as well as it replaces old equipment and systems which may become obsolete due to advancement in technology.”
During the year under review, TNM plc profits after tax declined by 41 percent to K7.7 billion from K13.2 billion registered the previous year.
The firm paid K4 billion in dividends at K0.40 per share, lower than the K7.53 billion at K0.75 per share.