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Economy

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

Binance Gets Digital Asset Service Provider Licence in France

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By Adedapo Adesanya

Binance, the world’s largest crypto and blockchain infrastructure provider, has been granted a Digital Asset Service Provider (DASP) registration to operate in France.

The green light was given by Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), which regulates the French financial markets, with the approval of the Autorité de Contrôle Prudentiel et de Résolution (ACPR), the authority responsible for supervising the banking and insurance sectors in France, especially AML Regulations.

The landmark achievement for Binance represents its first DASP registration in the European Union and demonstrates its commitment to being a compliance-first exchange.

The registration allows Binance France SAS to operate as a DASP in France and provides regulatory protection for local users with regard to the implementation of French AML/CFT and customer identification requirements.

This came just after the platform received licenses to be a crypto service provider in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, a key milestone for the world’s largest digital-asset exchange as it set up the stage for a major push in the Middle East.

According to Binance, compliance and regulation are critical to the development and maturation of the crypto and blockchain industry.

Mr Changpeng Zhao (CZ), founder and CEO of Binance, said: “Effective regulation is essential for the mainstream adoption of cryptocurrency. The French DASP and AML/CFT regulations put in place stringent anti-money laundering and fit and proper requirements to meet the high standards necessary to be regulated in France.”

“We are grateful to the AMF and ACPR who both demonstrated a commitment to innovation that made it possible for Binance to navigate the entire application process. Since day one, Binance has always put its users first, and now the crypto community can have even further confidence in Binance France as a trusted DASP registered in France,” he added.

Mr David Princay, CEO of Binance France added, “The registration of Binance France as a DASP is a key milestone for crypto in Europe. In particular, the new levels of protection for AML will help grow crypto adoption in France and Europe. Greater adoption will help bring better liquidity to the market which will be welcomed by users and the community in particular.”

Following the registration, Binance will significantly expand its operations and intends to recruit more people focused on cryptocurrency and blockchain infrastructure development.

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Economy

We’ll Sustain High Level of Corporate Governance—Seplat

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Seplat

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The immediate past chairman of Seplat Energy Plc, Mr Ambrosie Bryant Chukwueloka (ABC) Orjiako, has assured that the company will continue to sustain a high level of corporate governance.

Speaking last Thursday at the closing gong ceremony to honour him and introduce his successor, Mr Basil Omiyi, to the market, the energy expert applauded the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited for insisting on transparent and accountable corporate governance for issuers on its platform.

According to him, this has been critical to the company’s growth, assuring that this trend would be maintained in the interest of the firm’s stakeholders.

“The high level of corporate governance promoted by NGX for its listed companies was a key attribute that motivated Seplat Energy Plc to become part of the market.

“Since our acceptance into the market, Seplat Energy Plc has continued to deliver a corporate governance structure that is accountable and transparent to our investors, employees, government and all other relevant stakeholders.

“We are committed to sustaining these high levels of corporate governance through our collaboration with NGX as we implement market-leading measures towards ensuring Nigeria achieves a sustainable energy sector,” he said.

Corroborating him, Mr Omiyi, said, “NGX has played an instrumental role in Seplat Energy Plc’s growth within the domestic and international markets. Our history with the exchange dates back to 2014 when the shares of Seplat Energy Plc were listed in the market and over the years, Seplat has benefitted immensely from its collaboration with NGX.

“As we celebrate another milestone on the Trading Floor of the Exchange, we look forward to strengthening our partnership with NGX for the fulfilment of our joint goal of leveraging capital to empower sustainable initiatives that positively impact our investors, employees, and the environment.”

The chairman of NGX, Mr A.B. Mahmoud, in his address, congratulated Mr Orjiako for his exemplary leadership and outstanding performance of Seplat Energy for well over a decade, during which the company was listed on both NGX and the London Stock Exchange.

“The notable acquisition of eight oil and gas assets, expansion of the Oben and development of the ANOH gas plants under his leadership positioned the company as the largest indigenous domestic supplier of gas,” Mr Mahmoud, who was represented by a director on the bourse, Mr Kamarudeen Oladosu, he noted.

On his part, the CEO of NGX, Mr Temi Popoola, said, “The exchange is better positioned to lead government advocacy efforts for listed companies, promote technology advancement and digital innovation for the capital market, and increase retail investor participation in the capital market aimed at building a market for the future and addressing the prevailing challenge of financial inclusion.

“We welcome Seplat Energy Plc to a renewed NGX and look forward to deepening our collaboration to develop and push for disruptive, out of the box ideas that could support Nigeria’s energy transition into a net-zero economy.”

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Economy

JUST IN: CBN Raises Benchmark Interest Rate to 13%

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By Dipo Olowookere

For the first time in two years, the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) has been raised by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to 13.0 per cent from 11.5 per cent.

Mr Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of the CBN, who announced this development on Tuesday in Abuja, explained that the decision to increase the benchmark interest rate was taken at the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting held yesterday and today.

While addressing financial reporters this afternoon, Mr Emefiele said members of the committee were unanimous with the decision to hike the rates as it was the best thing to do after holding them for about two years.

According to the central bank chief, one of the reasons for raising the rate is to control liquidity ahead of the 2023 general elections as politicians would be expected to flood the system with cash in a bid to woo voters.

However, the other parameters were left unchanged by members at the gathering as the Asymmetric corridor remained around the MPR at +100/-700bps, the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) at 27.5 per cent and the Liquidity Ratio (LR) at 30.0 per cent.

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