Airtel Malawi PCL has approved a final dividend of K32.5 billion to be shared among its shareholders, representing K2.95 per share, in respect to the company's 2021 profits for the year ended December 31, 2021.
The declaration was made on Thursday during the company's 23rd Annual General Meeting (AGM) which was held virtually but hosted at the Bingu International Conventional Center (BICC).
The declared dividend, however, is slightly way above the company's profit after-tax of K32.3 billion, an increase from K22.1 billion after-tax profit registered in 2020.
The final dividend of K 2.95 per share also represents an increase of 40 percent against a dividend of K2.10 for the 2020 financials, according to the financial results made available to shareholders during the AGM.
Currently, Airtel Malawi ownership comprises Bharti Airtel (80 percent), Old Mutual (8.6 percent), and the public (11.4 percent).
Between financial years 2020 and 2021, the company also grew its customer base by 24 percent to 6.25 million active customers, representing a customer net addition of 1.2 million in the year.
During the year, the Malawi Stock Exchange Listed (MSE)-listed company also saw its revenue surging by 19.5 percent to K131.8 billion from K110 billion in 2020, also an increase from K92.8 billion in 2019.
During the meeting, which was chaired by the company's chairman Alex Chitsime, one of the shareholders questioned why the company has distributed more dividend that the reported profit after tax for the
second consecutive financial year.
The shareholder wondered how Airtel Malawi board can maintain the company's operating capacity and ability to finance future capex requirements without compromising its ability to pay future dividends.
In his response, one of the company's board of directors Kayisi Sadala said dividend is paid out of Retained Earnings of the company.
According to Sadala, the company had Retained Earnings of K32.93 billion and Cash and Cash equivalent of K38 .52 billion as well as free cash flow of K47.23 billion for the year after considering capex and cash tax.
Added Sadala: "Given the health of the Balance Sheet, as mentioned above, Board of Directors have proposed a dividend of K32.4 billion without compromising the company's operating capacity and ability to finance future capex requirements."
Airtel Malawi Managing Director Charles Kamoto said his company was excited that the company's growing network footprint continues to contribute significantly to job creation agenda for the nation "and brings smiles to many families.