Since Peter Ndegwa joined Safaricom PLC as Chief Executive Officer, diversifying has been key in the company and now Kenya’s largest telco has bought a stake in UK gas firm, Circle Gas Limited at Sh384.6 million.
This marks the company’s entry into the cooking energy business as it continues to look for multiple revenue streams away from voice business.
The telco announced the acquisition in the latest annual report that it completed the transaction last December, giving it an 18.96 pc of the issued shares of the England-based firm.
Safaricom had already been working with a Circle Gas Ltd subsidiary, M-Gas since January but didn’t disclose the deal at that time. Together with M-Gas, Safaricom launched a prepaid cooking gas service that was aimed to improve access to cooking gas, particularly for low-income communities.
Safaricom used the Narrow Band (NB) IoT network to deliver a smart meter that would then be used to monitor the payments and usage of the gas.
“Strategically, the investment in Circle Gas solution is a digital service offering leveraging internet-of-things (IoT) and M-Pesa, that will drive our ambition to be the leading digital services provider in Kenya,” states Safaricom.
Safaricom says the investment will help it bring profit while also offering, through technology, customers an affordable, clean energy source for cooking.
Circle Gas will also be using the telcos trademarks in return for a royalty fee, giving Safaricom additional income.
Safaricom and its South African parent company Vodacom recently acquired M-Pesa from British firm Vodafone at Sh2.146 billion. Each getting a 50 pc stake.
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