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UPDATE 1-Kenya's Nation Media sees double-digit growth
March 14, 2012 / 1:37 PM / 6 years ago

UPDATE 1-Kenya's Nation Media sees double-digit growth

* FY pretax up 31 percent to 2.8 billion shillings

* Revenue up 18 pct to just over 11 bln

* Total dividend unchanged at 8 shillings

* To start web-based money transfer service (Recasts with outlook)

NAIROBI, March 14 (Reuters) - Kenya’s Nation Media Group expects double-digit revenue and profit growth in the next two years, thanks to a rise in circulation and advertising income, its chief executive said on Wednesday.

The firm, which publishes titles including the Daily Nation and operates radio and television stations, posted a 31 percent rise in 2011 pretax profit to 2.8 billion shillings ($34 mln), thanks to higher newspaper sales and advertising revenue.

Total revenue grew 18 percent to just over 11 billion shillings.

“Barring any significant circumstances, we are confident that we are going to continue double-digit growth in 2012 and even in 2013,” Linus Gitahi told reporters.

He said the group, which is pursuing an expansion strategy in Africa, recorded significant growth in its digital division and would launch a web-based money transfer service targeted at users of its website, which receives 30 million hits a month.

Nation Media said it would pay a total dividend for the year of 8 shillings per share, unchanged from a year earlier. The total 2010 payout included a special dividend of 2.50 shillings.

Nation shares were down 3 percent at 160 shillings before trading was halted ahead of the results announcement. Analysts said the results looked positive.

“They have done well. Their investments both inside and outside the country are giving good returns and they declared a good dividend,” said Bob Karina, managing director of Faida Investment Bank.

Gitahi said he did not expect newsprint prices to rise sharply this year, adding newspapers were a key part of the business, despite the push into digital.

“Our circulation has grown significantly and this is something we don’t take for granted because newspapers around the world are struggling,” he said. ($1 = 82.4500 Kenyan shillings) (Reporting by Duncan Miriri; Editing by David Clarke)

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