Nigerian operations aids Airtel Africa’s revenue by 29%
•…As customer base hits 125.8m•…Firm rues impact of NIN-SIM policy, captures 30m NINs of subscribers
Operations of the Nigerian arm of Airtel Africa aided the telecommunications firm’s revenue by over 29 per cent in the nine-month period ended December 31, 2021.
In the financial result released at the weekend and made available to journalists, Airtel Africa said its reported revenue grew by 21.7 per cent to $3.5 billion, while constant currency underlying revenue grew by 24.8 per cent.
The telecoms firm said constant currency underlying revenue growth was recorded across all regions, with Nigeria growing by 29.0 per cent; East Africa up 24.4 per cent and Francophone Africa up 19.0 per cent and across all key services, with revenue in voice up 16.1 per cent, and in data and mobile money both up 37.2 per cent.
The financial statement puts Airtel Africa’s underlying EBITDA at $1.7 billion, growing by 31.3 per cent in reported currency with an EBITDA margin of 48.8 per cent, an increase of 326 basis points led by both revenue growth and improved operational efficiencies.
The operating profit grew by 43.1 per cent to $1.1 billion in reported currency, while Profit After Tax (PAT) almost doubled to $514 million as higher PAT more than offset associated tax charges.
In terms of subscribers, the result showed that Airtel Africa’s customer base expanded to 125.8 million, growing by 5.8 per cent, with increased penetration across mobile data (customer base up 11.1 per cent) and mobile money services (customer base up 19.6 per cent).
The firm said customer base growth was affected by the NIN/SIM regulations in Nigeria but returned to growth in this region in the third quarter. According to it, if Nigeria is excluded, the customer base grew by 12.0 per cent.
Speaking on the result, Chief Executive Officer, Airtel Africa, Segun Ogunsanya, said a strong third quarter has contributed to a pleasing nine-month financial performance across all key metrics.
Ogunsanya said operationally, the firm continued to execute on network and distribution expansion plans, driving continued strong growth in Average Revenue Per User (ARPUs) across voice, data and mobile money.
He said the firm saw further improvement in customer growth trends for the Group with Nigeria returning to strong customer growth after a period affected by the implementation of new ‘know your customer’ requirements, posting 1.9 million net additions in the third quarter, taking total Group customer additions to 3.1 million.
The Airtel Africa CEO said the Nigerian arm has made significant progress on capturing existing NINs and building the database in collaboration with National Identity Management Commission (NIMC).
According to him, to date, out of Airtel Nigeria’s 42.4 million active customers, we have collated NIN information for 30 million active mobile customers, adding that to complete the registration process, the firm must also verify the NIN information received from subscribers with the NIMC.
“I am particularly pleased with developments in Nigeria, where in November we received approval in principle for both a payment service bank (mobile money) licence and a super-agent licence. We are now working closely with the Central Bank to meet all its conditions to receive the final operating licences and commence operations. This will enable us to expand our digital financial products and reach the millions of Nigerians that do not have access to traditional financial services.
“We continued to strengthen our balance sheet, with our leverage ratio now 1.4 times underlying EBITDA, thanks both to continued increases in operating cash flow delivery and to over $550 million of cash that has now been received from minority investments into our mobile money business.
“We will continue to invest in expanding and evolving our platform to further deepen both financial and digital inclusion across Africa. I continue to see huge growth potential across voice, data and mobile money and our strategy is delivering against this opportunity.
“Our sustained investments in both network and distribution expansion will help to ensure that both the communities and economies across our footprint will continue to benefit from increased and affordable connectivity and financial inclusion. We are committed to continue to improve the delivery of our services to our customers, with sustainability at the heart of our continued purpose to transform lives across Africa,” Ogunsanya stated.