Nation Media Group (NMG) has resumed dividend payment following a 331 percent increase in net income to Ksh584.7 million ($5.3 million) in the year ended December 2021 on recovery of business post the Covid-19 pandemic.
NMG Group board Chairman Wilfred Kiboro said the company will pay shareholders Ksh285.4 million ($2.59 million), or Ksh1.50 a share as the region’s leading news organisation grew net income from Ksh135.5 million ($1.23 million) posted 2020 on a rebound in broadcasting and print advertising revenues.
Turnover rose by 11.7 percent to Ksh7.6 billion ($69 million) from Ksh6.8 billion ($61.8 million) in 2020. Growth was also supported by a rise in revenue from e-paper and Nation.Africa subscriptions.
The company which paid Ksh1.50 a share in 2019, did not pay dividends in 2020 as it sought to conserve cash to weather the adverse impact of the Covid-19.
Mr Kiboro said NMG plans to increase the payout progressively as profit grows on digital transformation and new business opportunities.
“Even as we go through transformation we must not forget our investors. I am happy to announce that we will go back to paying dividends starting this year at Sh1.50 for every share,” Mr Kiboro said.
“If we get good results we hope to get back to the days when we used to pay up to Ksh10 a share,” he said.
The media company is banking on its large online presence and a revamped digital plan to grow sales.
NMG is working to leverage the huge online presence to monetise online audiences into sustainable revenue streams.
The media company has a reach of 47.3 million users across its website and social media platforms.
Its digital transformation journey accelerated during the pandemic to cushion huge drops in physical paper sales that saw digital revenues rise to six percent of total turnover.
Broadcast revenues grew from 20 to 22 percent of total turnover, reducing the company’s over-reliance on print revenues which declined from 75 percent to 72 percent of total turnover.
Digital revenues mainly consist of digital advertising sales, subscriptions to e-paper and Nation.Africa, which grew to 14 percent of total circulation sales up from 11 percent in 2020 and four per cent the previous year.
The company’s niche publications such as the Business Daily and The EastAfrican have continued to record higher uptake of e-paper at 38 percent and 21 percent respectively and there is increased focus to review content and accelerate their position in the market.
The company is also exploring increased use of data for Business Daily and exploring models of trading the data. “Going forward, the bulk of the revenues will come through digital.
‘‘The legacy media like print will remain for a few years but distribution will be mainly digital. We hope to reduce reliance on print in the coming years,” Mr Kiboro said.
NMG said traditional products like legacy print media have shown resilience as business recovered, helped by the cost containment and business optimisation interventions rolled out during the pandemic.
Advertising revenue grew 14 percent in print and 25 percent on TV, while on radio advertising was up 42 percent.
Digital revenue grew 20 per cent, courier saw a 13 percent while e-paper subscription rose eight percent.
The company’s stock price also improved from around Ksh13 to the current Ksh21 after a successful share buyback that attained 82.5 percent of the targeted uptake.