Nigeria’s operation and partly East Africa, have earned Airtel Africa 10.2 per cent constant currency revenue, largely driven by double-digit growth in the first quarter fiscal result.
The telecommunications firm said the customer base grew 9.3 per cent to 99.7 million. Nigeria currently accounts for 45.6 million subscribers with the telco enjoying 26.3 per cent market share after MTN, and Globacom.
Airtel Africa reported that revenues increased to $795.9 million, up 6.9 per cent, with constant currency growth of 10.2 per cent. This was the 6th consecutive quarter of double-digit constant currency growth.
According to the firm, growth was recorded across business products. Constant currency revenue in voice increased by 3.2 per cent, data revenue increased by 35.9 per cent and Mobile Money revenue grew by 41.8 per cent
Reported underlying Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) was $ 347.6 million, up 9.7 per cent, while constant currency underlying EBITDA growth was 12.8 per cent.
Connecting Africa reported that underlying EBITDA margin in reported currency was 43.7 per cent, an increase of 111 bps, while there was an increase of 101 bps in constant currency terms, Free cash flow was $102.4 million, down 29.2 per cent largely as a result of increased capital expenditure (capex) for network modernisation and rollout of additional sites
Earnings per share (EPS) before exceptional items were $2.0 cents, down 46.8 per cent largely due to increase in the number of shares. Basic EPS was 4.1 cents
Chief Executive Officer, Raghunath Mandava, commented: “I am pleased to report a strong start to the financial year, in our first quarterly results since the IPO. These results, which are in line with our expectations, are clear evidence of the effectiveness of our strategy across voice, data and Mobile Money.
“In the quarter, we delivered a 10 per cent increase in revenue in constant currency terms, with even higher underlying EBITDA growth largely as a result of operating leverage and a tight focus on costs, which led to underlying EBITDA margin expansion of 101bps.
“Voice revenue, our largest business product, was up three per cent largely driven by nine per cent growth in our customer base, now reaching nearly 100 million customers across our footprint. Data revenue, our largest contributor to growth, was up 36 per cent as an increasing number of customers relied on our high-quality and high-speed Long Term Evolution (LTE) network, resulting in a 79 per cent growth in data usage. Mobile Money revenue, our fastest growing business, increased by 42 per cent as we expanded our distribution reach.”
Mandava said the firm will continue to invest in our 4G network, adding nearly 1,500 sites, “now more than half of our sites are 4G. We also continue to prepare for the launch of our Mobile Money business in Nigeria, securing approval of the brand name, an important step as we await approval for our payment service bank license.
“The business continues to show momentum and we are confident of delivering sustained growth across voice, Data and Mobile Money, underpinning our medium-term aspirations for revenue and profit growth.”