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Econet to scrap cash dividends

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Econet Wireless, the country’s largest telecoms operator, has disbursed dividends worth $10 million to its shareholders, but may replace cash payments with scrip dividends in the current financial year.
This will require the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE)’s approval.
Kris Chirairo, Econet’s finance director said Econet was the first company in Zimbabwe to pay out a US dollar dividend.
“We cannot have just one or two public companies paying dividends. This has serious ramifications on the recovery of the pensions sector, and therefore on the welfare of the pensioners themselves”, Chirairo said. “Pension funds can only get real liquidity if the productive sector recovers fully and people are properly remunerated”.
He added that Econet —one of the largest payers of taxes to the government – was not owned by a single person as widely believed. It has one of ZSE-listed companies’ largest number of shareholders.
Therefore the payout — which covers the financial year ended February 2010 — would relieve the company’s pensioners who are on pension funds invested in Econet.
“Our shareholder profile is dominated by thousands of small shareholders and mutual funds that predominately invest for pension funds,” Chirairo said. “The truth is we are a public company, and we are owned by thousands of shareholders. Many people are not even aware that they own shares through their pension funds that are invested in us.”

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