By Dipo Olowookere
After being battered by the introduction of new know your customer requirements of the Nigerian authorities, Airtel Africa is beginning to see an improvement in its customer base.
In its unaudited financial statements for nine months ended December 31, 2021, the major telecoms operator said it recorded 1.9 million net additions in the third quarter, bringing the group’s total customer additions to 3.1 million. .
This underpinned this revenue growth of 21.7% to $3.492 million from $2.850 million earned in the same period of 2020.
A closer look at the revenue line showed voice contributed $1.747 million versus $1.537 million in the first nine months of the previous fiscal year, while data contributed $1.127 million versus $842 million for the prior period, with mobile money accounting for $406 million. versus $291 million and other income contributing $306 million versus $255 million in 2020.
Business post observed that Airtel Africa’s revenue increased in part due to a one-time exceptional revenue of $20 million related to a settlement in the Republic of Niger.
Excluding this, revenue increased by 22.5% in current currency and 24.8% in constant currency, the difference being related to currency devaluations, mainly of the Nigerian naira (6.3%) and the Malawian kwacha (8.2%), partially offset by the appreciation of the Ugandan shilling (4.3%) and the Central African franc (2.0%).
Revenue growth for the 9-month period benefited from a weakened performance in the prior year’s first quarter during the height of COVID-19 related restrictions in the region. However, even after adjusting for this, the group’s revenue growth rates were higher than in FY21.
“A solid third quarter contributed to a satisfactory nine-month financial performance for all key indicators.
“Operationally, we continued to execute on our network and distribution expansion plans, driving continued strong ARPU growth for voice, data and mobile money.
“We have also seen further improvement in our customer growth trends for the group, with Nigeria returning to strong customer growth,” said Airtel Africa Managing Director, Mr. Segun Ogunsanya.
During the reporting period, the company’s operating profit increased 43.1% to $1.146 million in reported currency, while after-tax profit nearly doubled to $514 million, with higher pre-tax earnings more than offsetting the associated tax charges, basic earnings per share (EPS) at 11.7 cents, an increase of 113.8 percent, largely due to higher profits.
This strong performance enthused Mr. Ogunsanya, who said, “I am particularly pleased with the developments in Nigeria, where in November we received approval in principle for a payment services (mobile money) banking license and a super agent license.
“We are now working closely with the Central Bank (of Nigeria) to fulfill all its conditions in order to receive the final business licenses and commence operations.
“This will allow us to expand our digital financial products and reach the millions of Nigerians who lack access to traditional financial services,” he said.
He revealed that the company “has continued to strengthen our balance sheet, with our debt ratio now at 1.4 times underlying EBITDA, thanks to both the continued increase in operating cash flow and to over $550 million of cash that has now been received from minority investments in our mobile money business.
“We will continue to invest in the expansion and evolution of our platform to further deepen financial and digital inclusion across Africa. I continue to see huge growth potential in voice, data and mobile money and our strategy takes this opportunity into account.
“Our continued investments in network and distribution expansion will help ensure that communities and economies across our footprint continue to benefit from increased and affordable connectivity and financial inclusion.
“We are committed to continuing to improve the delivery of our services to our clients, with sustainability being at the heart of our continued goal to transform lives across Africa,” he added.