Malawian telecoms company TNM's 2017 profit up 60 percent

BLANTYRE, Malawi, June 14 (Reuters) - Telkom Networks Malawi reported a 60 percent jump in annual after tax profit on Thursday, thanks to a strong showing from its voice call services.

The company, which competes with India’s Bharti Airtel , said after tax profit totalled 13.1 billion Malawian kwacha ($18.36 million)in the 2017 fiscal year compared with 8.2 billion kwacha a year earlier.

Founded in 1995 as joint venture between the government and Telekom Malaysia, TNM has been rolling out high-speed 4G network to meet growing demand from some of its nearly 4 million users who increasingly use their smart phones to browse the internet.

It splashed out $30 million last year to build the network beyond Malawi’s three major cities of Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu to outlying areas.

The data and mobile money business now contributes 20 percent to the company’s annual revenue of $112 million, TNM said.

TNM is 41.31 percent owned by Press Corporation Ltd, a Malawian conglomerate whose businesses span banking, fishing to retail. Old Mutual has roughly 24 percent stake in the company. ($1 = 713.4500 kwacha) (Reporting by Frank Phiri. Editing by Jane Merriman)