Nigerian Operations Buoy Airtel Africa FY19 Earnings

airtel africa

By Adedapo Adesanya

Telecommunication giant, Airtel Africa Plc, recorded a 11.2 percent increase in its revenue for the full year ended March 31, 2019. This growth was spurred by its largest arm, Airtel Nigeria.

According to the company’s statement released on Wednesday, the revenue for year rose to $3.4 billion from $3.01 billion recorded in the previous year.

This growth came from a rise in revenue from Nigeria, which saw a 24.1 percent year-on-year increase, accounting for 40 percent of the company’s overall revenue.

The company also published a Q4 revenue growth of 15.1 percent, while revenue in constant currency grew by 13.8 percent in the full year and 17.9 percent in Q4.

Growths were recorded across all business segments, with voice revenue up by 5.2 percent, data by 39 percent and mobile money by 37.2 percent.

Annual profit before tax jumped 71.7 percent to $598 million, while profit after tax stood at $408 million, down by 4.4 percent due to a one-off deferred tax recognition in Nigeria in 2019.

Across the regions, Nigeria and East Africa continued to deliver strong performance, and performance in Francophone Africa continued to improve with revenue up 4.1 percent in the final quarter.

Reported operating profit was $901 million, up 22.8 percent and 25.4 percent in constant currency. This was the result of strong revenue growth with broadly stable operating expenditures as a percentage of revenue.

Airtel Africa’s data services, which reported a 36.1 percent sales growth, have been benefiting from increased traffic due to the stay-at-home orders to curb the spread of the new coronavirus, the company said.

According to Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Airtel Africa Mr Raghunath Mandava, he said – “In Africa, the spread of COVID-19 has lagged the rest of the world and, therefore, it is difficult to precisely forecast what the impact of this will be on customers and business. However, our performance during the month of April has been resilient.”

Earnings per share (EPS) before exceptional items was $7.3 and basic EPS was $10.3, a decrease of $9.2 cents year-on-year.

Meanwhile, the Airtel Africa board recommended a final dividend of $3 cents per share, to a total dividend of $6 cents per share.

Speaking on future plans, Airtel Africa CEO said, “We enter this period of increased volatility in a strong financial position and our view on the medium-term opportunities across our footprint has not changed, as these markets will continue to benefit from strong population growth and the need for increased connectivity and financial inclusion.”

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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