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Airtel Africa Grows Net Profit by 80% on Stable Net Finance Costs

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By Dipo Olowookere

One of the leading telecommunications, Airtel Africa Plc, has reported an 80.2 per cent increase in its net profit for the accounting year ended March 31, 2022, despite a rise in tax charges.

The firm posted a post-tax profit of $755 million in the year under review compared with the $415 million recorded in the preceding year and was driven by higher operating profits and stable net finance costs amid a 48.2 per cent hike in tax payment caused by higher withholding tax on dividends by subsidiaries.

Analysis of the topline of the results showed that the revenue generated in the full year rose to $4.7 billion from $3.9 billion, with growth recorded across all its regions and key services.

Nigeria posted a 27.7 per cent in turnover, East Africa expanded by 22.7 per cent, while Francophone Africa grew by 17.2 per cent.

In terms of services, voice revenue grew by 15.4 per cent to $2.4 billion from $2.1 billion, data revenue increased by 34.6 per cent to $1.5 billion from $1.2 billion, and mobile money revenue grew by 34.9 per cent to $553 million from $401 million.

In the period under consideration, Airtel Africa was able to boost its earnings as a result of the increase in its customer base by 8.7 per cent, with the introduction of new SIM registration regulations in Nigeria contributing to the slow growth, though its customer base in the country, its biggest market, now stands at 128.4 million after addition of 2.4 million new customers.

In the year, the telco said it recorded an operating profit of $1.5 billion, 37.2 per cent higher than the $1.1 billion achieved a year earlier due to strong revenue growth and improvements in operating efficiency across all its regions.

Operating profit included a one-time cost of $32 million consisting of a $12 million provision for the expected settlement of a contractual dispute in which one of the group’s subsidiaries is a party, and $20 million costs relating to an agreement on historical spectrum fees in one of its.

This compared to the prior year which included a gain of $20 million for a one-time settlement in Niger, which was partially offset by one-off costs of $6 million in Francophone Africa.

As for the EBITDA, it grew by 29.0 per cent to $2.3 billion as a result of revenue growth and improved operating efficiencies.

While commenting on the results, the chief executive of Airtel Africa, Mr Segun Ogunsanya, said the company has again demonstrated its desire to continue to create value for customers and shareholders.

“We have delivered strong double-digit growth in revenues across all our regions and all our key services, with improving margins driven by strong cost control, and expanding cash generation which is enabling us to continue to invest in our network and services and expand our distribution, as well as strengthening our balance sheet and increasing our returns to shareholders. We are connecting more customers in new and existing coverage areas and driving usage levels and ARPUs to new highs,” he said.

“While the fundamentals of our six-pillar growth strategy remain unchanged, we are looking to accelerate our performance through a greater focus on digitalisation and we have underpinned our strategic pillars with our sustainability ambition,” he further said.

Mr Ogunsanya disclosed that “long-term opportunities for us remain attractive,” noting that the team will “continue to work actively to mitigate all our material risks and to deliver value for all our stakeholders.”

“There are increasing challenges from global inflationary pressures, but we continue to target revenue growth ahead of the market and moderate margin expansion,” he assured.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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Economy

Sterling Bank Assures Shareholders More Value With New Structure

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By Aduragbemi Omiyale

Recently, shareholders of Sterling Bank Plc authorised the board of the company to transform its organizational structure into a holding firm to be known as Sterling Financial Holdings Company.

A holding company or Holdco is a company set up for the purpose of making and managing, for its own account, equity investment in two or more companies, being its subsidiaries, engaged in the provision of financial services, one of which must be a bank.

The Chief Executive of Sterling Bank, Mr Abubakar Suleiman, said with the new arrangement, shareholders would have value for their money as the company would have the opportunity to increase its income streams because of its involvement in new ventures.

He disclosed that the advantages of the newly formed holding company include value creation to maximise earnings through new businesses, agility to optimise for opportunities and adapt to a rapidly changing market, maximise current and future talent potential with opportunities within the group and subsidiaries to nurture and engage its wealth of young and innovative talent.

According to him, the holding company also affords Sterling another opportunity to leverage its successful HEART strategy, which has seen the bank make consolidated investments in the Health, Education, Agriculture, Renewable Energy and Transportation sectors, growing the company’s year-on-year profits to record highs despite strong economic headwinds.

With the adoption of a Holdco structure, Sterling now possesses the latitude to make inroads into other sectors within financial services, such as pensions, asset management, payment services, real estate, and different verticals, along with the current banking licenses held by the commercial and non-interest banking subsidiaries, Sterling Bank and The Alternative Bank.

In recent times, the bank has doubled down on digitisation with specialised products through the development and introduction of Specta, OneBank, I-invest, Gazelle and Omni X to fulfil the market’s needs for innovative retail and commercial banking solutions.

On his part, the Chairman of Sterling Bank, Mr Asue Ighodalo, said, “Following the implementation of the scheme, shareholders will exchange their shares in the Bank for shares in HoldCo in the same proportion as their current holdings in the Bank, which will be a regulated entity for CBN purposes.”

He added that the scheme would provide several benefits to the shareholders of the bank, some of which include facilitating diversification into other permissible business lines, thereby promoting growth and enhancing shareholder value and facilitating a consolidated financial strength of the group, which will improve access and ability to raise capital.

It was gathered that upon the final ratification by the regulators, the commercial banking subsidiary of the holding company, Sterling Bank; will continue to operate with its current name as a limited liability company, with shares transferred from the publicly traded company transferred to the newly formed Sterling Financial Holdings Company.

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Economy

Friesland Extends NASD OTC Securities Growth by 0.98%

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By Adedapo Adesanya

FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc extended the bulls’ presence at the NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange by 0.98 per cent on Tuesday, September 27.

This expanded the market capitalisation of the bourse by N9.38 billion to N963.94 billion from N954.56 billion and jerked the NASD Unlisted Securities Index (NSI) up by 3.19 basis points to end the day at 762.12 points as against the 765.31 points it recorded in the previous session.

FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc appreciated yesterday by N4.90 to sell at N78.00 per unit compared to the N73.10 per unit it was transacted a day earlier.

Despite the growth posted yesterday by the NASD OTC securities, there was a price loser and it was Niger Delta Exploration and Production (NDEP) Plc, which declined by N1.00 to settle at N199.00 per share compared with Monday’s value of N198.00 per share.

During the session, there was a rise in the volume of securities traded by 408.8 per cent to 189,296 units from the 37,205 units transacted by market participants in the preceding session.

In the same pattern, there was a rise in the value of shares traded by 129.1 per cent to N6.2 million from the N2.7 million recorded on Monday.

These transactions were completed in 18 deals, the same amount of deals carried out in the previous trading session.

At the close of trades, AG Mortgage Bank Plc was the most traded stock by volume (year-to-date) with the sale of 2.3 billion units valued at N1.2 billion, Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Plc stood in second place with 687.6 million units worth N14.3 billion, and Mixta Real Estate Plc was in third place with 178.1 million units worth N313.4 million.

The most traded stock by value on a year-to-date basis was CSCS Plc with the sale of 687.6 million units worth N14.3 billion, VFD Group Plc was in second place with 27.7 million units valued at N7.4 billion, as FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc was in third place with 14.3 million units valued at N1.7 billion.

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Economy

Naira Appreciates at P2P, Falls at I&E, Stable at Black Market

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Naira devaluation

By Adedapo Adesanya

The value of the Naira appreciated against the United States currency in the Peer-to-Peer (P2P) segment of the foreign exchange market on Tuesday by N2 to close at N740/$1 compared with the previous day’s value of N742/$1.

However, it depreciated against the American Dollar at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window of the FX market yesterday by 33 Kobo or 0.08 per cent to trade at N436.33/$1 in contrast to Monday’s value of N436.00/$1.

Data from the FMDQ Securities Exchange disclosed that the value of forex transactions recorded at the spot market yesterday went up by 27.31 per cent or $21.33 million to $99.43 million from the $78.10 million reported a day earlier.

In the interbank segment of the market, the Naira closed flat against the Pound Sterling at N463.96/£1 and against the Euro, it also remained unchanged at N416.15/€1 on Tuesday.

In the same vein, the exchange rate of the local currency paired with the greenback closed flat at the parallel market yesterday at N722/$1.

Meanwhile, the digital currency market was bearish yesterday, with Bitcoin (BTC) falling below the $20,000 mark again after it managed to rise above that level a day earlier.

On Tuesday, its value went down by 6.5 per cent to close at $18,765.50 as Ripple (XRP) recorded a 10.1 per cent slump to trade at $0.4282.

Ethereum (ETH) saw its value go down by 6.9 per cent to sell at $1,284.29, Solana (SOL) recorded a 6.5 per cent slide to quote at $32.44, Cardano (ADA) recorded a 5.6 per cent decline to settle at $0.4312, Binance Coin (BNB) shed 5.1 per cent to sell for $270.03, Litecoin (LTC) went down by 5.0 per cent to trade at $52.07, and Dogecoin (DOGE) saw a 4.5 per cent slump to trade $0.0594.

But Binance USD and the US Dollar Tether (USDT) closed flat at $1.00.a

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