Speaking during the company’s Full Year investor briefing, Mr. Collymore, said the firm's net profit for the year ended March 2018 grew to Sh55.3 billion, compared to Sh48.4 billion the year before on the back of M-Pesa and data revenues.

“To achieve these results we sharpened our focus on putting our customers first, delivering relevant products and services, and organizational effectiveness; a strategy that was exceptionally well executed considering the challenging business climate last year,” he said.

Mr Collymore addressed staff and shareholders via a video link where he informed them that he's waiting for medical clearance to travel back to the country.

The Safaricom boss has been away on medical leave since October last year receiving treatment in London for an undisclosed ailment.

Shareholder value

For the year to 31 March 2019, the company announced it would spend between Sh35 billion  – Sh38 billion in infrastructure expansion.

“In FY 2019 we look to drive long-term shareholder value by deploying next-generation network services, leveraging data analytics and segmentation, guided by our purpose of transforming lives to turn innovative ideas into realities,” said Sateesh Kamath, Finance Director – Safaricom.

The company maintained a steady momentum in mobile money business, adding 2.1 million new M-PESA customers and achieving revenue growth of 14.2pc YoY to Sh62.91 billion.

M-PESA now contributes 28pc of Safaricom’s service revenue from 20.9pc in FY 2015, highlighting its central position as a key growth driver alongside mobile data, and displacing traditional voice and SMS.

Bonga

The telco is further eyeing a revenue increase on the mobile money platform with plans to launch a messaging app dubbed Bonga which will allow its users to communicate beyond sending money to one another.

The sustained demand for data remains a key growth driver for the company, with mobile data revenue increasing by 24pc to Sh36.36 billion.

Mr Kamath also stated that the board had recommended a dividend of Sh44.1 billion, an increase of 13.5 per cent form the previous year. It will be paid at Sh1.10 a share