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Safaricom Hits 5-Year High on Earnings Outlook: Nairobi Mover

April 30 (Bloomberg) -- Safaricom Ltd., the Kenyan mobile-phone company that’s 40 percent owned by Vodafone Group Plc, rose to the highest in five years on bets that growth in subscribers and mobile-money transfers boosted profit.

The stock rose 2.2 percent to 6.85 shillings, the highest since July 2008, by the close in Nairobi, the capital, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. More than 11 million shares were traded, or 73 percent of the three-month daily average.

Safaricom users rose a quarterly 3.1 percent to 19.8 million, an almost 65 percent market share, in the three months through December, the Communications Commission of Kenya said on April 18. Mobile-money transfers for all carriers advanced 9.4 percent to 21.1 million, it said, without giving details for Safaricom’s M-Pesa service.

“The rally is on expectations earnings will rise driven by high voice, data, mobile-money transfer and text revenues,” Kuria Kamau, a research analyst at Nairobi-based Kestrel Capital (East Africa) Ltd., said by phone. “We estimate earnings to rise by 28 percent.”

Safaricom will announce results for the fiscal year to March 31 on May 14, the company said on its website. Profit almost doubled to 7.77 billion shillings ($93 million) in the six months through September, the company said on Nov. 8.

The company’s relative-strength index has held above 70 since April 17, a level that indicates the stock may be overbought. The shares have gained 36 percent this year, beating a 24 percent rally in the Nairobi Securities Exchange All Share Index, the world’s third-best performing equities gauge in 2013.

To contact the reporter on this story: Johnstone Ole Turana in Nairobi at jturana@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Vernon Wessels at vwessels@bloomberg.net

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