Airtel Africa signs its 100 millionth customer, three months after share sale

Raghunath Mandava.jpg

Airtel Africa, the Indian-owned company that raised £750 million in a difficult share flotation in June, has reached 100 million customers.

The Nairobi-based company announced this morning that its 100 million customers mean it is now the second largest mobile operator in Africa by number of active subscribers – behind MTN, which has 240 million, according .

Raghunath Mandava (pictured), CEO of Airtel Africa, said: “This achievement is testament to the hard work of our employees and a clear reflection that customers value our network, service offerings and customer experience.”

Airtel Africa operates in 14 countries, with Nigeria being the largest market. Bharti Airtel bought the African business in 2010 from Kuwaiti company Zain for an enterprise value of $10.7 billion. It then had 50 million customers.

The initial public offering (IPO) on the London Stock Exchange saw Indian parent company Bharti Airtel sell 25% of its holding in Airtel Africa by offering shares at £0.80 each, giving the whole African unit a market capitalisation of around $3.9 billion.

Since then the shares have always traded below the IPO rate, reaching a peak of £0.73 in July; today the price is almost £0.68, putting the market cap at £2.52 billion.

Mandava commented: “The positive momentum we have seen in customer acquisition further underpins our medium-term aspirations for revenue and profit growth. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the teams that have worked hard to get us here.”

Airtel Africa said its footprint is characterised by low but increasing mobile connectivity, with a unique user penetration at 43%, which the company said highlighted the potential for growth across its footprint.

The company said it believes in enhancing connectivity and digitizing the countries in which it operates and has invested to expand its network footprint and number of 4G sites to enhance network capabilities and support its future business growth.



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