Airtel to Begin Banking Services in Nigeria Soon
By Dipo Olowookere
Chief Executive Officer of Airtel Africa Plc, Mr Raghunath Mandava, has hinted that the telecommunications company operating in Nigeria would soon commence offering some banking services to its customers and residents of the country.
He dropped this hint while commenting on the company’s performance in the first half of 2019, where Airtel Africa reported a strong start to the financial year, in its first quarterly results since its Initial Public Offering (IPO) on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) in June this year and its listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in July 2019.
According to Mr Mandava, the firm is preparing to launch its mobile money business in Nigeria, while it awaits an approval from the central bank.
“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 (from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN), the chief executive said.
Mr Mandava noted that the performance of Airtel Africa in the period under review was in “line with our expectations [and a] clear evidence of the effectiveness of our strategy across Voice, Data and Mobile Money.”
“In the quarter, we delivered a 10 percent 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 101 bps.
“Voice revenue, our largest business product, was up 3 percent largely driven by 9 percent growth in our customer base, now reaching nearly 100 million customers across our footprint.
“Data revenue, our largest contributor to growth, was up 36 percent as an increasing number of customers relied on our high-quality and high-speed LTE network, resulting in a 79 percent growth in data usage.
“Mobile Money revenue, our fastest growing business, increased by 42 percent as we expanded our distribution reach.
“We continued to invest in our 4G network, adding nearly 1,500 sites; now more than half of our sites are 4G,” he said in a statement issued by the company.
The Airtel Africa chief said, “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.”